The CIO of professional services firm PwC UK, Dominique Moreau, has hit back at remarks made by his Groupama Insurances counterpart Jem Eskenazi that the CIO role is set to disappear in the next 15 to 20 years, by declaring that "the CIO role is here to stay".
Eskenazi had claimed that the CIO role he currently performs is going through a transition that will soon see it become irrelevant. As CEOs and COOs become more tech savvy, he said, the CIO role would be absorbed back within general management.
But in an interview with Computing, PwC's Moreau said that this was not a possibility and said that CIOs need to work with CEOs – not be replaced by them.
"I think the CIO needs to be very much in sync with the CEO and work with them and the executive board and enjoy a good relationship with these people. But I still see the role of the CIO as remaining as the expert and strategic role with regards to lead technologies, and helping to ensure that the CEO and executive board can actually understand which technologies can have value within the business that they are in," he said.
Moreau said that the CIO role encompasses three different priorities.
"The first is delivering a good level of service with high availability every day. This is where the CIO gains credibility. Then level two is to move things forward in delivering new functionalities and systems that the business needs, and level three is where the CIO has to figure out the art of the new technologies and figure out which are applicable to the business that he or she is working in," he explained.
"This is the key role of the CIO which I see as staying for the long term," he added.
And Moreau was not alone in disagreeing with Eskenazi's views, as Edinburgh Airport's head of IT Graeme Agnew also believes the CIO role is here for the long term.
Agnew said that the role of CIO is about drawing upon insight and knowledge of technology and understanding the business model and strategy, and being able to inject tangible value into the business.
"For me, that's a key role in an organisation. To have an IT leader who can play that role during operational challenges that are present in any organisation you have to have that strategic slack, and a CIO has the capability to inject that value back into the business. That's a view across the whole industry, not just the airport industry," he stated.