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Updated by Charles Bystock on 02/02/2022

Like the technology that is their purview, the role of chief information officer (CIO) continues to change. It now incorporates more innovation and strategic acumen than at any other time in the history of the job description. How has the CIO position evolved in the past few decades, and what factors are shaping the definition of CIO success in 2022?

cio success

Evolution of the CIO role

The CIO's mission has evolved from back-office technologist to C-suite strategist in direct proportion to technology’s move from under-the-hood workhorse to primary business product. CIOs initially focused on managing engineers. Today, their influence stretches far beyond network design and maintenance.

Technology and innovation drive more of the same, and the CIO is taking charge of the business technology space. To understand how the role has changed, it’s useful to understand its evolutionary timeline.

  • In the 1980s, the original CIOs were network engineers with tenure. These hardware and software experts were often managers by default for companies seeking to maintain their growing IT infrastructure and workforce.
  • In the 1990s, the position changed with the development of groundbreaking business tools, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and the expansion of technology and information access. CIOs were confronted with cloud acceleration and the first of many legacy platform integrations with new enterprise tools.
  • The dot-com era accelerated the birth of “Software as a Service” (SaaS) models and other computing and data storage technologies. During this period, the CIO role shifted to a more operational focus.
  • Today, CIOs are faced with strategic imperatives to move from digital transformation initiatives to human-centered innovation in close alignment with business goals and outcomes.

CIOs have an expansive role. From keeping the lights on to driving enterprise efficiency, process improvement, and standardization and from vendor management to platform reliability, and even business value, it’s a heady mix. What trends are shaping this latest iteration of the CIO role?

cio trends

What trends shape the CIO role for 2022?

CMS Wire says, “CIOs are increasingly focused on the company’s business models.” Becker’s suggests some key trends affecting CIOs in 2022:

  • CIOs will increasingly be measured on organizational financial performance.
  • CIOs will adopt an even broader role, including innovating and implementing technology, managing and securing data, and delivering actionable intelligence to solve business problems.
  • CIOs will need to tackle the ongoing challenges of hybrid work model management. Watch for the CIO role to expand to include more chief of staff duties aimed at transforming companies into digital enterprises.
  • CIOs will be more public facing as they build mainstream business reputations by integrating legacy and increasingly innovative technology solutions.

These trends are priority one for CIOs in 2022. What best practices can your CIO implement now to prepare for inevitable, ongoing change?

CIO best practices for 2022

CIO best practices for 2022

The next phase of digital transformation is the creation of flexible, adaptive IT infrastructure in support of business strategies. CIOs can embrace this next-level evolution by:

  • Refocusing IT alignment on the customer experience with targeted interactions that promote business goals.
  • Applying creativity, agility, and adaptive governance at every point of IT innovation.
  • Maintaining IT reliability for infrastructure security, efficacy, efficiency, and consistency.

The back-office support functions of the CIO aren’t disappearing. They’re continuously expanding. CIOs now have the perspective that comes with three decades of innovation and evolution.

The Windsor Group Sourcing Advisory is your company’s trusted resource for expert advice on information technology leadership, finance, and strategic sourcing for enterprise growth and scalability. Contact us today.