How much functional knowledge required for a CIO ?

Slowly IT (Information Technology) is becoming BT (Business technology). Traditionally the CIO of an organization (the core business is not IT) is a leader with strong technical background who understands the technology, systems, IT processes and have a less functional knowledge comparing to the IT knowledge.

Due to the role and function of IT changing rapidly, I predict that trend is going to change so quickly. In the near future, the companies are going to look for an extensive functional knowledge as a requirement for CIO. With increasing success of SaaS, ASP models, the hard core IT function (SAN, NAS, Network architecture, load balancers, SSL accelerators and etc) are not required to be directly performed by IT organization. It will be done by service providers and it is requirements by an IT organization to better manage the SLA, vendor relationship. Since the IT function is to enable and drive business (IT is not a service provider to the matured innovation organization) the functional knowledge is extensively required for a CIO to make the right decision. It is not going to be nice to have competencies of a CIO.

For example, for an Oil & Gas company, the CIO MUST clearly understand how OIL & GAS function generally work and it will be required that CIO must have worked in that sector as a Business Director or business senior manager.

How much functional knowledge required for a CIO?
Significant business functional knowledge is REQUIRED for future CIO to run the IT shop.

To test my theory, let us take Toyota Financial. As I understand (as per their web site), they are looking to fill the CIO position. Toyota financial organization goal is to support the consumer (who buys Toyota and Lexus product) by providing financial products like loan, lease, insurance and etc and dealers by providing financial products like floor plan, whole sale and etc.

As per my theory (or speculation), the new CIO will have an extensive business knowledge in the financial lending industry (like mortgage, auto loan, banks, etc). Let us wait for press release and verify my speculation.

BPMS Tool – Who should use it?

Business Process Management Suite tool is not an IT tool. It is a tool must be used by both business and IT. It is a platform to bring both IT and business together. IT – Business alignment has been a topic for a while in the enterprise and IT strategy related discussion for a while. The true IT business alignment in the grass root level can be accomplished by selecting and implementing the BPMS tool in an organization.

Like innovation, agility is an another strategic imperatives being used by many successful organization. To accommodate the rapid change in the market, the agility within the IT organization in terms of technology, process, systems and etc are must have. It is not a good/best practice it is must have requirement in this dynamic market.

Who are the real users of the tool?

When the tool is viewed as an IT tool, then it is the starting point to defeat the whole purpose of the tool. BPMS is not an IT tool. It is an enterprise too which should be used by both IT and business. Generally, the business process management of the organization is maintained by non IT organization. Some of the organization has a centralized organization responsible for the business process management. They facilitate the business process for any new project requirement and also maintain the process house of the organization. It is a centralized business team to perform this function.

To summarize, the BPMS is not an IT tool and should be used by the following teams to make the BPMS implementation successful.

  • BPM team (a centralized business facilitation team responsible to map a business for new requirement and maintain the process house of the organization)
  • Business teams (cross functional)
  • IT application architecture team
  • IT enterprise architecture team
  • Business analyst
  • Executive Business analyst (who work for CEO or COO and provide the necessary business information working with the functional areas)
  • Application development partners (right sourcing)
  • Developers