Thursday, October 4, 2007

demise of the CIO

One of the themes that I've pursued in this blog has been the demise of centralized information technology in organizations. Nick Carr continues a familiar theme in his work on the decreasing strategic importance of CIOs:
We've entered the long twilight of the CIO position, a sign that information technology is finally maturing. Technical expertise is becoming centralized in the supply industry, freeing workers and managers to concentrate on the manipulation and sharing of information. It will be a slow transition - CIOs will continue to play critical roles in many firms for many years - but we're at last catching up with the vision expressed back in 1990 by the legendary CIO Max Hopper, who predicted that IT would come to “be thought of more like electricity or the telephone network than as a decisive source of organizational advantage. In this world, a company trumpeting the appointment of a new chief information officer will seem as anachronistic as a company today naming a new vice president for water and gas. People like me will have succeeded when we have worked ourselves out of our jobs. Only then will our organizations be capable of embracing the true promise of information technology.”
From my experience in the higher ed environment, I'd observe that leadership in the application of technology is critical. But it need not come from one centralized place in the organization.

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