CIO Directory 2015

The mind of a CIO must be a conflicted place, inhabiting two or more realms at any given time. Let’s start with the most obvious disparate worlds the CIO has to straddle – technology and business.

The CIO needs to understand the capabilities and limits of technology in order to deliver it in a way that enables innovation or increases efficiencies.

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At the same time, the CIO has to understand the operations, processes, nuances and culture of the business so they can apply technology to it in a way that's going to stick. If the current sentiment of the South African CIO could be captured in a single phrase, based on the profiles featured in this directory, it would be 'aligning IT with business'.

Also in the pages of this directory, we get a glimpse of the different stages of maturity of technology in South African businesses. This too provides a nod to the ‘bimodality’ of the CIO’s realm. There’s a mix of the legacy or ‘older world’ technologies that CIOs still need to manage, run and sweat. Then, there are the ‘hot’ new-world technologies – cloud, mobility, big data analytics, social and the Internet of Things. How does the CIO steer the organisation through these waters?

Add to this the conflict in management philosophy the CIO faces. It’s often advocated that the former ‘command and control’ attitude of deploying standard technology to the masses within the organisation evolves to a more fragmented, user-centric BYODesque world. And this new world isn’t just internal stakeholders; it now includes suppliers and customers.

I use the bimodal thread as a hook, but the CIO has numerous other areas of responsibility that are often overlooked, but are equally important. Telkom CIO Len de Villiers outlined some of these roles at the launch of ITWeb Brainstorm’s 2014 CIO Survey. The CIO is a cost optimiser, security advisor, talent manager, business process engineer, disaster planner, procurement strategist, project director, governance and compliance officer, strategic problem-solver, architect of future landscapes and visionary. There were more on his list.

Of course, to achieve all of this, the CIO is somewhat of a figurehead, and there’s often a great team behind them. As these conflicting realms coalesce and evolve, the successful CIO will be the one who can hire and manage the best teams (internal and external) to help meet these evolving challenges.

In a much less grand scale, as editor of this directory,I realise elements of this situation too. Thanks to the terrific people who’ve worked behind the scenes on this directory, particularly Norma, Alison and Lesley (there are many others and their names are on the opposite page), this has freed me up to help develop some other areas of this publication. One in particular is our fledgling Africa section. And again, for some CIOs, African expansion is perhaps simply one more challenge to add to the already brimming melting pot.

In addition to the hard working production team, I would also like to thank all the CIOs who have participated in this edition, and the sponsors and advertisers who help us make this publication what it is.

Happy reading!

Adrian Hinchcliffe

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