Booking a village hall for a fifth birthday party is a digital transaction in modern Britain, yes there is a domain dedicated to the humble village hall. The search for a venue for my daughter’s party highlights to me why organisations need a CIO, in the real sense of the job title and why that role needs to be board level. This title places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of technology being understood by all members of the senior leadership team. So when we hear of CIOs being removed from boards we are perturbed and back the CIO who see that decision as the point of no-return in their relationship with the organisation and step down.
Sectors such as retail, financial services, media and communications are being disrupted at a rate knots, so to hear of the CIO being removed from the board from a retail and financial services provider when it is undergoing serious troubles is galling. Whether an organisation is in full health or facing chronic difficulties, technology is having an impact. As I sit in my home office and write this column two courier vans have made deliveries in the last few minutes. That has had a major impact on our country town High Street, as well as further impacts on the infrastructure of a market town dating to Roman times.
As the excellent columnists of this title have said on numerous occasions, technology and its business impact should be considered in every senior management meeting. Boards may not fully understand the detail of technology, but they will need to listen and discuss the business need to modernise infrastructure just as they would discuss details of the construction of a new supply chain site.
We all know the major trends affecting our organisations and each and every one of these trends is creating more information or the opportunity to create more information. And boards need to be aware that as an organisation you don't control the entire data creation process around your brand anymore. So I call on boards to make your CIO role true to its nomenclature and ensure they are the chief Information officer with a full focus on the information you create and that your clients, suppliers and customers create.
As digital revolution gathers pace, which if we are entering a period of economic recovery, will be the same sort of pace Chris Froome goes up hills, then information creation levels will sky rocket. And please can we have no more of the silly debate about CMO and CDOs replacing the CIO. Both roles are totally necessary as the digital revolution demands specialist focus on the digital business, all of which will create information. To set up a fight between these leaders as if they were separate camps will only create an unnecessary challenge for vendors and observers making the divide.