CIOs are facing another wave of reinvention -- both in the organisation level, and their respective roles.

The confluence of technology trends such as the cloud, mobile and big data, plus the 'Internet of Things' have dramatically altered the landscape CIOs and their teams operate in.

These 'disruptive' technologies have prompted CIOs to revise the way they purchase technology services and provide access to both staff and business partners to the organisational networks.

The CIO has to be a 'practical leader' and 'effective translator' of what these changes mean to the organisation.

Meanwhile, another fount of disruption, is in the spotlight -- the continuing adoption of digital technologies. Customers, channels, competitors are all embracing this shift, placing different, if more intense, demands on organisations.

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Linda Price, group vice president, executive programs, Gartner, says the next 10 years are set to become the first digital decade. The personal success of CIOs will be influenced, she says, by how they manage the transition to respond to new business expectations while ensuring continuity in the management of traditional enterprise IT.

The next 10 years are set to become the first truly digital decade.

Many CIOs are already doing this, working with their colleagues in finance and marketing, or directly with key customers and suppliers, on ways digital technologies can support business growth, develop new models, and stay ahead of the competition.

In this situation, the CIO has to be a "practical leader" and "effective translator" of what these changes mean to the organisation, says Mark Baker, director of MIH Consulting and one of the business technology leaders we interview for the 2014 State of the CIO report.

Baker, who has been CIO and chief operations officer in New Zealand enterprises, suggests CIOs apply the term 'digital' in the business context. Make a list of 10 things 'digital' can mean for the respective industry, and another five things it could mean for the organisation, he states.

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It is a critical first step for CIOs who, once again, are finding themselves in the midst of a crucial leadership test not only for the role itself, but their own career.

The author is editor ofCIO New Zealand. Email comments to [email protected]

Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap

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