The increasingly important role of IT for any enterprise has given more prominence to CIOs in the Middle East although until now they have tended to serve as secondary members of the C-suite, often reporting to another C-level position, says Ranjit Rajan, research director for software & IT services at IDC Middle East, Turkey & Africa in an article for ITP.net.
Businesses across industries are coming to recognise the central role of IT for their performance, especially with the increasing adoption of so-called third platform technologies such as cloud computing, mobility, social and big data analytics, as well as security. All this, says Rajan, has made IT a boardroom topic and enhanced awareness among C-level executives about the role of the CIO. At the same time, however, it is not always the CIO who starts the discussion of new technology; such initiatives could also come from the CMO since the marketing department often spearheads the adoption of new technologies such as social or mobile.
It needs a progressive CIO to start a discussion about technology and drive its adoption, says Rajan, but unfortunately such progressive CIOs are a minority in the region. In the Middle East, CIOs are often too focused on the technology itself, rather than on strategic initiatives. In fact, CIOs have been doing the job of CTOs in the region, which is understandable since many of them started their careers as technology professionals and have kept the focus on technology entirely, instead of shifting it to the management of information at the enterprise. The first step in the transformation of an enterprise into one that efficiently manages and uses information technology is the transformation of the CTO into a CIO, Rajan concludes.
Julian Frankum | Manager Director MEA