10 predictions for what the CIO role will look like in 2020

CIOs can expect their jobs to change dramatically by the decade's end, with increased roles in business planning, cyber security, robot management and, of course, the cloud

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6. Cyber warfare will turn the CIO into a general.

It's no secret that the modern CIO has to deal with cyber attacks on a routine basis. However, as John Thielens, CSO at enterprise security company Axway explained, cyber warfare will reach a heightened state and will require an almost militaristic stance by the CIO. One fallout from increased attacks: Internet neutrality principles will finally crumble. That means a CIO might have to move into a role of negotiating peering agreements between Internet service providers. (Today, the Web is essentially a freeform entity where ISPs pass information along unhindered.) "We'll see national firewalls going up as a way to keep cross-border relationships safe," Thielens says. "We'll see the management of interconnectivity between large global businesses become significantly more challenging."

7. BYOD will be the norm.

In the future IT department, employees will bring their own devices to work and IT helps makes them secure. Today, that remains an exception to the rule -- —in most cases, IT still provides hardware to employees and manages the infrastructure. Tim Naramore, CTO of Masergy, a managed network provider, says IT will mostly be charged with managing employee-owned devices. For the most part, workers will find their own computing devices and use them at work.

8. Outsourcing will use AI.

One key trend for CIOs: Outsourcing will move from managing physical teams that handle incoming calls or tech support issues to a more complex role dealing with computer AI. Greg Pierce, cloud strategy officer at Tribridge, an enterprise consulting company, cites the example of a call center. Today, it exists in a building where reps answer the phone. By 2020, speech recognition systems will advance to the point where a robot can answer the phone and provide tech support, using a digital voice that sounds the same as a human. That means the CIO will have to manage this legion of "bots" and the decision trees for support, not the people doing the work.

9. CIOs will impact business direction.

Many CIOs of today meet with business leaders and contribute to the overall direction of the company. In the future, the CIO won't just contribute. He or she may be the main thought leader, moving from an advisory role to one more focused on direct innovation. Masergy's Naramore says the CIO will be involved in every key business decision, from marketing to product design to logistics, because technology will play a pivotal role (or even the major key role) in those areas.

10. Analytics will be increasingly important.

Making decisions means having good data, and most CIOs have learned this lesson. In the future, explains Oliver T. Bussmann, executive vice president and CIO at SAP AG, the CIO will delve even deeper into analytics as a way to predict future technology trends.

"He or she needs to earn a place in the C-suite by looking into the future of where the business is going, and determining the right technology roadmap to enable new business models, to improve margin, or otherwise give their company a leg up on the competition," Bussmann says. "In many cases this will mean leveraging in-memory computing and analytics to react to and capitalize on trends in real-time. Running massive internal infrastructures will no longer be a priority as almost everything runs in the cloud; however, data security will be of paramount importance—and there will potentially be integration challenges."

John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology. He has written more than 2,500 articles in the past 10 years. You can follow him on Twitter @jmbrandonbb. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, on Facebook, and on Google +.

Read more about CIO role in CIO's CIO Role Drilldown.

This story, "10 predictions for what the CIO role will look like in 2020" was originally published by CIO.

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