The Problem

Most companies operate with a single CIO guiding all aspects of a Company’s technology, from the tactical building of data centers, to strategic CRM initiatives. However, the core specialization for CIO’s has largely been tied to core legacy technologies.

With the emergence of social media, a resulting real-time customer interaction paradigm is emerging among consumer oriented companies. This is problematic as the change, as fast as it is occurring, not only requires rapid new software implementations, but also requires the establishment of the “Legacy Team” and the “Emergent Technology Team”.

Combining these teams, under the leadership of a single CIO, will almost certainly lead to human resources issues. As these skill profiles and personality profiles are often quite unique from each other not only in technical skill, but personality as well.

The relevant question related to a single CIO managing both organizations is, why is there no publicity regarding these types of HR related IT problems? The answer is that this exploding technological world of real-time interaction along with interaction quality, is still evolving, and the implications described have yet to mature into real problems.

Many IT executives still view this real-time feedback and associated customer interaction quality initiatives as nothing more than the latest IT Fad.

The Response

Both of these polar initiatives require action before material HR issues arise which could result in staff resignations, and or reduced job performance. The potential implications to key IT personnel resignations on the legacy team, and or resignations due to poor work environment on what will be viewed as the “strategic team.”

These highly differentiated IT functions form the basis for dual CIOs. I suggest an L be added to the title of the incumbent IT Organization formally declaring the role of Chief Information Officer of the Legacy organization (CIOL) with no change in job responsibilities, reporting lines, or management structure.

Given the heavily consumer focus, the second CIO who would be the CIOI or Chief Information Officer of (customer) Interaction, should be an enabling part of the marketing and or customer services organizations. Once the new CIOI has had a chance to develop, their organization and associated strategy, employee cross-training could be considered where one organization could be viewed to be of benefit to the other.

I believe this dual CIO model addresses a couple of critical issues. First, for both of these senior roles to be positioned for maximum success they are in fact each full time roles. Secondly, the separate organization model helps unplanned knowledge drain within the legacy organization’s resignations, while allowing interaction value providers the opportunity to emerge into an established, stable organization.


While the dual CIO (CIOL,CIOI) proposed model may not an elegant answer, I do believe it helps strategically manage the almost certain conflict and disruption which would emerge in an IT Organization where both functions were side by side.


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