Operational CIO vs Strategic CIO

A great infographic comparing the more traditional “operational CIO” to what many leading companies need today, the “strategic CIO”. I find that there are far too many operational CIOs, and the 80/20 budget rule  (80% maintenance / 20% innovation) is still the status quo for most companies.

Whether the CIO is operational or strategic, it is not always by choice, but often due to the way IT is viewed by the business. Most have yet to see IT as a strategic partner and one that can be instrumental in leading change and transformation in the business.  However, this is changing, and many leading companies are investing heavily in their IT organizations.

Think of Airbnb, Uber, and Alibaba for a moment. At first, one may think of these companies as a lodging/travel company, a taxi/car service company, and a online retailer, but these are all tech companies. I recall sitting in a meeting with the CEO of Fast Retailing (parent company of Uniqlo), where he described Fast Retailing as a tech company as opposed to a clothing company. I have never worked for a company where IT was more closely integrated with the business and a true business partner and driver of change. More and more companies are making this shift, but are there enough strategic CIO’s out there, to take the reigns?