Are dual CIOs required to cope with ‘third era of enterprise IT’?

dual CIOs

I know I’ve written a couple of posts this week based on Gartner forecasts for mobile apps development and BYOD, but I’m going to the Gartner well one more time because this is pretty interesting.

The tech research firm recently did a global survey of more than 2,300 CIOs. And guess what? CIOs are feeling just a tad overwhelmed by the pace of change in the digital enterprise.

Gartner’s survey found that “51 percent of CIOs are concerned that the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope and 42 percent don’t feel that they have the talent needed to face this future.”

That’s a lot of anxiety in the corner office (or whatever offices CIOs occupy). What’s left unsaid — and what has to be another major source of sleepless nights — is that all this must be done under the constant pressure to cut costs.

The current landscape, dubbed the “Third Era of Enteprise IT” by Gartner, indeed sounds like a scary place:

“Entering the third era of enterprise IT technological and societal trends, such as the Nexus of Forces and the Internet of Things, are changing everything; not only improving what businesses do with technology to make themselves faster, cheaper and more scalable, but fundamentally changing businesses with information and technology, changing the basis of competition and in some cases, creating new industries.”

Even worse, it appears that veteran CIOs might have to relearn their jobs to keep them!

“The behaviors mastered in the second era of enterprise IT, like treating colleagues as customers, are potential hindrances to exploiting digitalization,” Graham Waller vice president and executive partner for Gartner Executive Programs, said in a statement.

Waller continues: “The second era of enterprise IT has been all about planning IT right, doing IT right, being predictable and creating value while maximizing control and minimizing risk. However, to capture digital opportunities created by the third era, CIOs need to deal with speed, innovation and uncertainty. This requires bimodal capability — operating two modes of enterprise IT — conventional, or “safe and steady” IT, and a faster, more agile nonlinear mode.”

Could we be at a point where large enterprises need two CIOs: A conventional, “safe and steady” CIO, and a wild and crazy one? Probably impractical, but it’s also hard to see how one person can possess the skill set to go “bimodal.”

Does what Waller says make sense? And how can CIOs successfully manage dual modes of enterprise IT?

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