iStock 000005682045Small

Selling technology into organisations and their CIOs is a perpetually changing process, but while Tibco CTO Matt Quinn says the IT purchasing pendulum is swinging back to line of business decision makers at the edge the CIO role has never been more important than it is today. [See also: How not to sell to a CIO | Mistakes to avoid when pitching to a CIO]

Tibco CTO Matt Quinn said that in the early enterprise most technology decisions were taken in LOB, before a shift in the early 2000s, when companies saw the economic benefits of centralisation.

"There was lots of consolidation on technology and vendors, and CIOs and CFOs saw they could save a lot money," Quinn said.

"But the democratisation of IT has seen the explosion of SaaS and a shift back to line of business decision-making; and there are lots of new challenges to that."

Quinn said that there were two types of LOB technology buyers or influencers - developers and business users - at the edge of an organisation's architecture and not part of core IT.

But despite a shift in technology and IT decision making aware from the CIO role, Quinn said that the Chief Information Officer had never been more important, and that it was one of the most stimulating roles out there for CIOs that can play their cards right.

"Security is holding all this in check, which is expensive but very important," he said. "Even with the pendulum swing the CIO role has become more important.

"The CIO has to keep the lights on, pay down technical debt by investing in technology, and enable the edge in a safe and secure manner which is not going to hurt the corporate whole. Previously the CIO could focus on the silo of corporate IT but now they look across the whole organisation.

"The role has continued to evolve with the CIO and CTO of today very different than from five years ago. They have to be a lot more evangelical in selling ideas to the company, and if the corporate philosophy is slower and more diligent they have to be able to map out the future, then sell it and enable people on that journey.

"The CIO in the early days were systems analysts with tenure, and then in the early 2000s those with a business and accountancy background came through - and now it's a little bit of a hybrid. It's still technical but CIOs need to understand the business side much better and deal with budgets.

"The CIO is the most interesting role if you can play it right - it's not one-dimensional and you must play to your strengths, finding out when to move fast and when not to."