Why 2017 Could Be the Year of the CIO

    March 13, 2017

    By Scott Adams

    The expanding role of digitization and the growing salaries of IT managers may be evidence that the role of the CIO is set to become even more central in 2017.

    Though it hasn’t been around for all that long, the CIO has quickly become one of the most important roles in the C-suite, and it appears as though 2017 will only deepen the role. According to Gartner’s recent CIO Agenda survey, these top IT professionals expect their companies’ digital revenues to grow from 16% to 37% in the next five years.

    As business technology and digitization efforts expand, CIOs and other IT managers find themselves in a position to leverage their expertise and play a greater role in the decision-making process for companies at large. In Deloitte’s recently published Global CIO Survey, the consulting firm found that most board-level executives have a narrow view of what “digital” actually means, giving CIOs the opportunity to demonstrate their increasing relevance in today’s business environment.

    Expanding the Term ‘Digital’

    The word “digital” no longer refers to a suite of consumer-facing projects and initiatives, or what Deloitte refers to as the tip of the “digital iceberg.” Rather, it encompasses a shift in mindset that affects every corner of a company’s operations. Yes, digital initiatives can improve the consumer experience, but these initiatives are underpinned with a number of digital processes the customer will never see. According to Computer Weekly, these include “legacy or core modernization and investments, infrastructure consolidation, cyber security, and data and analytics tools.”

    Even if an enterprise has recognized and implemented many of these core functions, it still takes a level of specialized expertise to adopt emerging technologies like predictive algorithms, the Internet of Things, robotics, cloud computing, machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality. These advancements don’t just affect the core consumer-experience. Digital initiatives also impact the employee experience, making them more focused, efficient, and engaged.

    The expanding scope of what’s meant by the term “digital” means that companies will have more reason to lean on technology experts when seeking to deliver on today’s most high-impact projects. As they embed technology into every area of their business, the role of the CIO and IT managers will change.

    Proof is in the Paycheck

    If pay is any indication of value within a company, a recent salary survey from Computer Weekly/TechTarget proves the premium enterprises are willing to pay a high price for good IT management. The survey, which included 738 UK business and IT professionals, shows that senior IT managers earn an average annual income of £112,000, 19% of which is bonus-related. As the CIO role expands and the size of their teams grow, it is only natural to expect that salary packages and bonuses will scale alongside it.

    46% of respondents said they plan to increase the size of their IT teams by adding developers, project managers, architects, and various kinds of engineers. And companies are not just investing in their IT professionals monetarily — they also offer perks like further education, career paths, and the ability to work remotely from anywhere in the world.

    Communicating Value

    With greater responsibility comes greater accountability, and at the end of the day, money talks. It is pivotal that the CIO can act as a liaison between the boardroom and IT, communicating the business value of the often jargon-heavy technology initiatives of their team. TeamQuest’s Vityl software suite can help take the number technical metrics IT produces and transform them into simple indicators of risk and health, making it easier to demonstrate how day-to-day, revenue-generating IT operations are executed successfully.

    If 2017 will be the year of the CIO, it starts by helping other executives understand the function and business impact of IT initiatives. The Vityl suite makes that simple.