Where will the new, “mini-CIO” be groomed?

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We’ve been talking for years about how the “new CIO” will need to be a lot stronger in vendor and partner relationships, based on the generally accepted assumption that more and more of the IT organization will move to external service providers.

I read this blurb last week right after talking to a friend who was trying to hire one of the “mini CIOs” the blurb references.  My friend described an open position in her young and growing organization, a leader of “technology strategy” that will be responsible for developing their technology vision and working with partners to achieve it.  I wondered aloud as she told me about what she was trying to find if she was really looking for a CIO.  She agreed that she was, but that while this hire would head up their strategic thinking on technology and be responsible for delivering on that vision, he or she would have a very small (internal) organization.  Because of that, they weren’t offering a CIO title or an associated CIO salary…

What I wondered after talking with my friend and then reading this article was where these new “mini-CIOs” were going to be groomed.  I’ve been scouring my network trying to help my friend fill her position and it really is a unique skillset that they need, one that is rare in many of the IT organizations I’ve worked with in the past.

I wonder if these new mini-CIOs will come from other areas of their businesses… because while technical competency will be important, it likely will not be one of the key drivers of success.  The business/technology vision along with negotiation and relationship management skills are what will make these new CIOs successful.