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Changing business demands are changing CIO role: Hudson

Both the role and skills requirements of chief information officers (CIOs) are being transformed as a result of changing business demands and the big technology trends -- Cloud, mobility, the consumerisation of IT -- according to Hudson's latest ICT Leaders Series report."

Titled Cloud, BYOD and Teleworking: Mastering the skills mix for today's IT function, the report indicates that there has been a major shift from operationally-focused IT function to business teams who work with the organisation to drive business outcomes.

Today's CIOs are faced with a range of challenges, including budgetary pressures, a rapidly changing technology and digital landscape, and new operating tools.

They must therefore be able to adapt to a constantly changing technology environment, embrace employee demands, negotiate and manage partnerships and projects, manage services and provide advice that supports business aspirations, Hudson said.

As a result, many are turning to 'new world' technologies to find more flexible and cost effective ways to help drive innovation and productivity.

"User-driven technologies, such as flexible working, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and social media, combined with technology developments and increasing business demands are driving transformational change," Hudson ICT national practice director, Martin Retschko, said. "IT is no longer supporting the organisation -- it is a key driver of business outcomes."

As an example, Hudson said that 43 per cent of respondents' organisations are using the Cloud to deliver services, which requires a different skillset than a traditional IT environment. Fifty-four (54) per cent said that productivity is enhanced by Cloud, and 57 per cent felt that innovation was also improving.

"More than ever before, today's CIOs need to work closer with human resources to identify where the skills gaps are and find the right workers to fill those gaps," Retschko said. "Attracting and retaining talent is now as much part of the CIO's role as technical skills."

The report states that addressing staffing challenges includes closely monitoring graduate programmes, mapping the competition, and building a talent pipeline.

The report also indicates that 52 per cent of organisations provide flexible working arrangements for some employees, and 38 per cent have introduced a flexible device usage policy. Results show that 52 and 24 per cent of respondents bring their own smartphone or tablet to work, respectively.

Additionally, almost two-thirds of organisations use social media as a promotional tool.

"If CIOs fight the trend of consumer technology coming into the business then IT becomes the gate-keeper," Corporate Express Australia IT and business services vice-president, Garry Whatley, said. "CIOs who see this as their role will become the Chief Infrastructure Officers and will be measured on how they manage costs. Alternatively, CIOs can tackle the challenge and focus on their role as business enablers."


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