CIO Roles Evolve as Supercomputing and Enterprise Mobility Become Widespread

By | May 30, 2012

It should come as no surprise that, with the growth of mobile development and the progression of artificial intelligence and supercomputing, CIOs would at some point be facing a different landscape in IT management. According to ComputerWorld, panelists at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium encouraged future CIOs to embrace traditional management roles as well as make the most of emerging technologies like social networking, big data, and enterprise mobility.

IBM's Watson made waves when it competed against--and defeated--established Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. While to a number of audience members, Watson seemed like something akin to a parlor trick, industry leaders who had a finger on the pulse of IT saw the value that supercomputers could bring to the business world. And when the banking and healthcare industries began using Watson to crunch data, enterprises that had never put much thought into business analytics started to consider the benefits of studying structured and unstructured data.

Midsize organizations wanting to move into the next generation of technological development will need IT decision makers who can see the potential in big data and utilize it to propel the company forward. According to the panelists, CIOs can use data analysis to create a bridge between the marketing and IT departments and help streamline sales efforts and improve business intelligence.

"Having [big] data is not for the CFO anymore," said Dan Sheehan, Chief Operating Officer of Modell's Sporting Goods. "That is looking in the rearview mirror." With the emergence of supercomputing, product, sales, and service analysis will soon be a joint effort between multiple departments.

Next-gen CIOs will also need to consider how the roles of social media and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) will affect business success. While some midsize organizations still balk at these as business implementations, the panelists suggest that it's a losing battle. "[Organizations can] either support [BYOD] or be a receiver of the fallout," said Rob Stefanic, CIO of Sensata Technology.

Although BYOD has received mixed reviews from industry leaders and prominent organizations, the trend does have its benefits. A 2011 report from enterprise mobility provider iPass showed that workers who used their mobile devices for both personal and business purposes put in more work hours than those who did not. And while most employers don't enjoy seeing workers browsing Facebook while on the company dime, Altimeter Group found earlier this year that enterprise social networking can do a lot for a company--so long as it's properly implemented.

To put it plainly, CIOs who want to be the best at their game are going to have a lot on their plates in the years ahead. Of course, business owners will also have to be open to these changes in the IT world as well; eschewing innovation can often lead to stagnation.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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