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El Reg issues CIO scrapheap challenge

Let's do vox pop

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Dear reader, we are conducting an experiment in vox pop journalism, and that means we want to involve you, the man or woman on the IT street.

We get to ask you a bunch of questions and synthesise your replies, votes and other feedback into a lovely impressionistic Reg-juicy article.

We have the means, the writers, the forums for readers to make freeform contributions, reader polling software and best of all we have you opinionated, knowledgeable lot. And what an opinionated and well-informed lot you are ...

So how do we go about this?

Let's pick an unambitious topic to start with, to wit The death of the CIO. For our first effort we want you to suggest the poll questions that we should frame for our exercise in vox populism.

At the bottom of the article there is a link to the new El Reg user forums, currently in beta, where you can make your pitch for polling questions, and where other readers can upvote the questions they want us to pose. Of course we welcome other feedback for our upcoming CIO scrapheap challenge and if you want to suggest other vox pop ideas, feel free to weigh in.

Now for the premise of this article.

CI - Oh No!

Vendor surveys suck, don't they - all bogus premises and self-serving conclusions. But then a good one pops up, such as this report from the computer services firm Getronics, which canvassed 200-odd chief financial officers for their opinions on the CIO.

The findings make grim reading for today's chief information officers, as the summary headline CFOs: The role of the CIO will cease to exist in 5 years’ time, reveals.

Here are some takeaways:

Percentage of CFOs who think:

  • The role of CIO is in jeopardy: 17%
  • The role of CIO will merge more with finance: 43%
  • CIOs will come from a non-technical background: 31 per cent.
  • CIOs lack financial understanding: 38%
  • CIOs lack understanding of the IT function: 40%

By my reckoning that's 60 per cent of financial directors who think that they will be in charge of IT - not techie CIOs. Cloud computing is a key driver in this thinking. Or as Getronics puts it "this trend can be attributed, in part, to the attractive utility model of cloud services, where companies avoid long-term contracts and can track ROI and costs far more accurately".

Some 77 per cent of CFOs and financial directors have already assumed more responsibility for IT decisions in the past 1-2 years. And 38 per cent of finance departments directly initiated cloud computing solutions - not their IT departments.

So that's what CFOs think about the CIO function. What do you the IT pro think about the role of the CIO. Does cloud computing signal the death knell for the technical CIO? We know that plenty of CIOs lurk on The Reg, what do you guys think?

And what questions do you want us to ask The Register-at-large. Step this way for El Reg user forums ... ®

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