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Smart CIOs are Sailing for New Horizons

18/11/2016 By Chris Chandler

Smart CIOs are sailing for new digital horizons 

Digitisation is rocking the IT leadership boat, but forward-thinking CIOs who embrace and adapt will find themselves leagues ahead.

Unsurprisingly, change continues to be the only constant in the IT leadership world. However, one thing remains certain: from cloud computing to social media, digitisation is here and it's here to stay, meaning our clients are increasingly bringing in Chief Data Officers (CDOs) to help them seize the digital moment. 

Research firm Gartner recently predicted that 90% of all large companies will have a CDO by 2019, and this trend is leaving many CIOs, who up until recently captained their company’s entire IT ship, feeling uncertain about their role. 

So should these changes be viewed as a threat? Definitely not. They present huge opportunities for CIOs to steer their company forward, keeping them at the cutting edge of digitisation, growing their own expertise and forging new roles that encompass CIO, CTO and CDO.

Take Mark Foulsham, the CIO, CDO and non-executive director of insurance firm esure, a champion of digital innovation who has devised cross-departmental hackathon programmes to get staff exploring the benefits of digital IT. Then head across to the consumer behemoth John Lewis, where master innovator Paul Coby uses creative IT to solve business challenges and who in July was promoted to “uber CIO” of the entire John Lewis Partnership. He’s now head of IT for the John Lewis department stores and for the whole of Waitrose too. There has certainly been no fading into the IT background here.  (Watch Paul discuss innovation at John Lewis at our FUSE event last year). 

So in conclusion yes, digitisation IS disrupting the traditional role of IT leader, but smart CIOs are turning it to their advantage, becoming agents of change and innovation, getting right into the conversation and driving their company’s digital transformation forward. It makes for very exciting times. 

Chris Chandler is the head of Executive Search at La Fosse Associates. To learn more about our executive search offerings please get in touch

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