The Changing Role of CIOs

Emmanuel Obadia, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Products, Sage ERP X3 says the traditional role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has changed quite dramatically in the past few years.

Emmanuel Obadia, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Products, Sage ERP X3 (image source: file photo)

The CIO position has swiftly escalated to one that is experiencing a high level of turnover, which in itself highlights the rapid change in responsibilities that the owner of the title needs to shoulder in a position that is becoming more and more prominent in the business world.

Obadia said the way the business world operates has undergone a major shift that is having far-reaching consequences on the ICT sector.

“IT is no longer a centralised department but is something that is prevalent throughout the organisation.  The nature of the CIO position has changed substantially with rapid and successive developments altering the very fabric of the business world, making it the responsibility of the CIO to incorporate these new methodologies and applications into business,” said Obadia.

Obadia said the CIO’s role is further challenged by mobile statistics, which dramatically challenge the role of IT.  He says that it is projected that by the year 2014, the amount of users accessing the web via mobile devices will surpass the number of users using desktop applications.

“It is a concern when you consider the client strategy that needs to be implemented to handle such a big scale change.”

“The advent of cloud computing offers a new way to consume applications straight from the web and provides the perfect avenue to address the emerging trend that is mobilising the workforce.  It places the age-old dilemma of choosing between Operational Expenditure (OPEX) and Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) squarely on the shoulders of the CIO to shape an application and software business model that will sufficiently address the company’s needs.  Just to add a little more pressure, companies are shifting their expenditure and expecting IT to do more with less,” said Obadia.

The amount of data and information we are exposed to has surged.

“The volume of information produced by mankind from the dawn of civilisation to 2003 equals what modern civilisation produces in two days.  The development of sites such as blogging platforms, Facebook, youtube, video conferencing and the like are some of the leading reasons for this phenomenon, which necessitates massive storage and analytics in order to provide business decision makers with the tools they need to turn data into actionable decisions in real-time,” said Obadia.

Social networking was perceived as a fad that originally applied to youngsters, but is currently revolutionising the way we do business.

“A company’s e-reputation is a growing concern and whether the tone is positive or negative, every business out there wants to be a part of the conversation between suppliers, partners, resellers and customers,” says Obadia.

“It once again adds a layer of complexity to the responsibilities of the CIO.”

The growing movement towards a green planet is introducing more regulations in which green IT is becoming a common phrase that guides IT development and progress towards more eco-friendly solutions.

“The rapid speed at which developments are taking place, favours flexibility by pooling resources and marshalling hardware and software resources to deliver just-in-time and relevant business applications.  The business world is ultimately moving to adopt computing habits that makes virtualisation from both a hardware and software perspective, a reality, and that reality provides its own challenges to the CIO,” concludes Obadia.

Emmanuel Obadia, Senior VP of Enterprise Product, Sage ERP X3