The past few decades have seen an explosion in the number of C-level roles at the top of global corporations.
Many of these are company-specific,
trendy, or just confusing. How is a chief
information officer (CIO) different
from a chief knowledge officer
(CKO)? But the overall trend shows
just how complex and specialized
running a corporation has become
in a time of accelerating, disruptive
change. New leaders with new
skills truly are needed to survive
in this environment, but this also
demands regular rethinking of some current
In my role with technology companies
(which today means all companies), I’ve seen
this turbocharged evolution hit the role of the
CIO. Just within the past 12–18 months, the
role of the CIO has quickly been transformed.
The evolution of the CIO role
The CIO officer fills a crucial need, but may
be the wrong “tool” for meeting the demands
of the digital business age. The CIO began
as a technical pathfinder for companies
wrestling with early digital and networking
needs. It was viewed as (and typically still is) a
back-office, general and administrative (
G&A)-budgeted function or a cost center supporting
systems applications and products/enterprise
resource planning (SAP/ERP) platforms,
which today are increasingly legacy systems.
The CIO role was measured by the number
of company servers, how many employees
The evolving role of CIOs
and how the board can spark
» The role of the chief information officer (CIO) has been transformed by new digital demands, but is it up to the task?
» Companies need a chief digital officer (CDO) who can help them adapt to modern marketplace disruption.
» A CDO should act as visionary, trendsetter, prod, and “tech consigliere” to the CEO and leadership team.
» The company’s board of directors is central to making this tech transition, but it needs digital savvy and willingness to
ask tough questions.
» On digital transformation, too many managements and boards still don’t know how to measure what really counts.
by Betsy Atkins
The overall trend shows just
how complex and specialized
running a corporation has
become in a time of accelerating,
Betsy Atkins ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is Founder and CEO at Baja Corporation in