It is the role of the chief information officer to select and implement tools that harness and share information for customers, clients and colleagues. Too often job specs or even descriptions by CIOs themselves are heavily weighted towards technology implementation, rather than information curation and distribution.
Technology will increasingly impact our organisations and a strong technology leader is absolutely necessary, as Trevor Didcock, former CIO of easyJet and now a panelists on the 2016 CIO 100 said in the first judging session. Organisations do need someone whose role it is to horizon scan, assess, experiment and then convince the organisation of the new technologies it requires. With data analytics, management, processing and enterprise App tools changing the way an organisation can work, a strong technologist is an essential requirement. The number of disruptive technologies on the horizon is growing, whether its machine learning, wearable devices, drones, Bitcoin or Blockchain.
But any CEO opting for a technology leader and forgetting to have an information leader will find disruptive rivals appearing who spot the opportunities information offers and that you have missed. The new technologies and tools available to CIOs can only be utilised to real organisational benefit if the organisation knows its information, manages it well and more importantly has an innovative leader that is passionate about the power of information.
Despite its plans to clog the air above my native North Downs with jet fumes, the information centric strategy of Gatwick Airport and its CIO Michael Ibittson is impressive. Capturing thousands of data points and in real-time sorting and distributing the insights to create business opportunities is inspiring and a testament to the role of the CIO. Seeing the business opportunities in two-fold impressed me too. The CIO and leadership have realised that deep in their information and third party data sources is a connection to create a revenue model. But just as important to that direct revenue is an understanding that information can improve customer service, which in due course leads to loyalty by passengers and airlines and results in increased business.
Ian Cox argues in his column that so much of the remit of the CDO role we are seeing is in fact the role of a CIO, as he puts it it is time to be getting back to the I in CIO.