Take a minute to think of the CIO's role in your organization. As IT becomes an integrated part of the business - and not just a tool the business uses - perhaps it's time to retire the title or split it into several others.

That's the theory of Ann All at ITBusinessEdge. She writes that "many business-critical functions fall under the purview of the CIO" and refers back to 2006, when one expert suggested the role should be split into two: a chief process innovation officer and a chief information technology officer.

More recently, she says, there's a move on to make CIOs focus on process optimization. Other job title ideas heard at a recent symposium include chief simplicity officer, chief organizational officer and strategy execution officer. "All seemed to hit upon the perennially popular idea that CIOs need to promote the idea of technology as a business enabler," says All.

As Robert Austin, author of Adventures of an IT Leader, told her: 

If you come from a technical background, it's a challenge to develop an appropriately outward-looking sensibility. The classic problem for a technical person is that, because you do feel expert in technical areas, in the moments that you should be going and being consultative with the CEO, your reflex is to go and hang with your team instead and help them solve the problem.

That's so true. IT and the CIO really need to learn now to frame their work as enabling business solutions, not just technological solutions.

-- Don Willmott