I've heard a number of times over the last few months a concern that the role of the Chief Information Officer is increasingly under-threat. This is supposedly because of the ability of departments within organisations to buy â€˜off the shelf' solutions relevant to their particular needs directly out of their own budget. This avoids going through the CIO as a middle-man, cutting time and effort. Furthermore, CIOs are increasingly seen as a restrictive force, slowing processes down and not understanding the importance of technology across different areas of the organisation.
Nevertheless, devolving authority for IT solutions can be extremely damaging. It puts data into silos and means that duplication (and all its associated problems) becomes commonplace. It also costs the organisation as a whole a good deal more in investment than otherwise would be the case. Again and again I have been told that breaking down silos is a key goal for many organisations. If departments, whether that be marketing or finance, take matters into their own hands then this process can be made even more difficult.
So how do you stop the shrinking of a CIOs authority? Well it seems to be down the the CIO themselves. They NEED to understand not just the pressures that every other department in the organisation is under, but also the solutions that can be employed to make their work easier. If they can play a consultancy role to the CMO, CFO or any other department with a need for new technology, they will increasingly be able to become a figure of authority, rather than the negative role many believe they play now.
We are delighted to have Virgin Insight speaking about breaking down silos across a multi-national organisation at Big Data World Europe.