The Evolving Role of The CIO

This is one in a series of blog posts discussing Divurgent’s 2014 IT Organization Best Practice Study.  To view earlier blogs from this series, click here

Recent media attention of Health IT indicated the creation of new positions for senior roles such as a Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Knowledge Management Officer. However, our study did not indicate or establish any trend in the creation of new Chief roles. Instead, many CIOs indicated that they are the ones leading these positions. Therefore, we believe the future CIO will be required to balance the near impossible tradeoffs between IT investment, aggressive deployment timeframes, and unsophisticated expectations of the senior management team.

Many CIOs stated their cost pressures wouldn’t allow their organizations to create these new roles. The biggest change for the CIO role is they are no longer just “IT people,” but are now recognized members of senior leadership. While maintain their technical expertise, CIOs are and will become members of the strategic planning team.

Innovation is the key to the future of the new CIO.  They will have to quickly adapt to healthcare’s rapid changes.  Changes such as reimbursement moving from a fee-for-service model to a pay-for-performance model will require them to think innovatively, finding new solutions, but with less resources. 

Our study also identified that IT will have to be run as a business, with a business and financial perspective on all service, process, and sourcing decisions. Meaningful Use dollars are disappearing, and CIOs are required to run their organizations smarter and more efficiently. It will require the willingness and ability to focus on core competencies and stop providing or outsourcing services that can be performed at a lower cost or higher quality to resources outside the organization.


“Do not see the CIO role evolving into a Chief Innovation Officer or Chief Knowledge Management Officer. These responsibilities are already part of the CIO role.”

“When I see all these ‘Chief’ titles I have to wonder where this is headed and how we can afford it.”

“The role of the CIO is changing. At one time it was focused on technology but now the CIO is dealing with strategic issues that include marketing, governance and strategic business planning.”

“I don’t think it matters what my title is. I think it is kind of silly to just think my job is going to change if they call me something different.”

“The organization has accepted technology as part of its future and now we are asking how we can use it in innovative ways to make the business better. “

The topic of our next blog entry will be EHR Optimization, Producing Real Results

To hear more about our study, please contact Divurgent at



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