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The CIO is the Chief Information Officer of a company. This role has the highest IT responsibility in an organization. It is a crucial role. She or he plans, operates and develops information technology. In our daily IT Consulting Projects we, at AdEx Partners, are confronted with rapidly evolving and changing setups in this field.  

The ever present question in almost every consulting project is how to design IT future proof. Which change is correlated and needs to be managed? Technically? Role-wise? How must the CIO be involved in this and, asking bluntly: Will there still be CIOs needed in 5 years time? 

Our point of view

Well, there certainly will be some. Nowadays, the IT department provides the neural system of the company. And this neural system is growing and evolving rapidly. What does this mean for the role of the CIO? This role will continue to evolve considerably: tasks and responsibilities will change, and consequently know-how and skills require a corresponding transformation.  

Developments are already emerging. If pursued consistently they could lead to the following future trends in IT: 


IT is one central value creator in the company. 

Every employee is able to implement IT solutions. 

Central IT departments still ensure that everything works. 

CIOs are either corporate strategists or there is no need to have one in the board. 

Data as a pivotal point

Leading a company in the future means leading on base of company’s data. And nearly everything will become data: products and customer journeys, sales processes and customers acquisitions, production and supply chain processes, employee’s satisfaction and performance, customer care and support. 

To steer a whole company the capabilities are needed to produce and collect data, correlate it across the processes, analyse and interpret it in the right way to recognize new potentials and values. 

These capabilities are needed all over the company. Footing on experience with change management the IT department is in the best position to establish new processes, responsibilities and even a new mindset in the whole organization. Furthermore, as a driver of data centricity, IT can even become a central facilitator of innovation.


Democratization of IT

Digital natives are conquering the labour market. And they will change the way we deal with IT in the long term. No matter what discipline they are qualified in, they bring expertise in dealing with IT in a simple and solution-oriented way. This is exactly how they challenge centralized IT units in their competence and responsibility. 

This trend is being boosted by GenAI. Developing IT solutions for problems quickly and easy will become common knowledge. With GenAI connected with Low / No code platforms an IT degree is no longer needed. Employees from almost all departments will utilize this. In addition, suppliers will be able to create and sell IT solutions tailored to their customers much more easily in future. 

This entire trend could continue what has already been started with agile and value stream-oriented organizations: consistently embedding the capabilities for the development and maintenance of IT solutions into the business units. 


Regulation facilitates efficiency

While the central IT department will lose some of its current core tasks (especially IT solution development), others become even more important: Integration and coordination of all decentrally developed parts into the pulsating ecosystem of the company. Several dimensions are critical to avoid chaos and to accelerate the profit: 

  • Infrastructure and business-operations
  • Data integration 
  • Information Security
  • Regulatory requirements

With centralized leadership and governance by the IT, all company divisions will design the building blocks in a seamless way. Processes are jointly created, which are more resilient and ensure the best outcome for the company. This is the opportunity of IT divisions to transform increasingly to both enabler and instructor as well as guide and inspector. 

Taking the bull by the horns

In view of the points made which capabilities are necessary to survive in the CIO role? The quick and easy answer is: Learning fast to bring added value to the company. 

Derived from above mentioned trends it seems clear that future CIOs are well advised to optimize company's nerve plexus


Increase speed with more neurotransmitters: 
Empower all divisions to solve their IT problems by themselves with methods, frameworks, technologies. 

Increase capacity with more neurons: 
Bring and guide more necessary IT skills and capacity to the business units. 

Increase change with more impulses: 
Boost the opportunities and readiness to create innovation (decided on base of detailed company’s data) and added value. 

Every company has a unique situation. We are happy to discuss any additional viewpoints. What is your vision for the future of IT and the role of the CIO? 


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