The ever-expanding power of finance directors is a direct threat to the CIO role, according to local government technology leader Rocco Labellarte.
The former CIO at the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, who has pioneered cloud computing in local government, told V3 that CIOs need to be independent of the CFO to be effective in their role.
"CIOs need to have percentage capital and revenue budgets based on the overall organisation size. They should be independent of the CFO and act as third-party partners to the organisation," he said.
"They should not aspire to being anything other than CEO of their IT business, within the wider organisation. Until this happens they will never be truly agile or deliver solutions that reflect modern, systems-thinking approaches."
Labellarte's comments follow concerns that CIOs are increasingly reporting to CFOs, who are growing in power in part owing to an increased focus on costs brought about by several recessions, and exacerbated by broader economic fears after Brexit.
The trend of CIOs reporting to CFOs will not change in the near future, according to Labellarte, who now assists several local government organisations in setting up shared services schemes.
"I think this will not change significantly until the millennial generations start to occupy positions of power. It should then get better," he said, adding that his biggest fear for the CIO role is that it will "lose relevance".
Labellarte described the top three priorities on which CIOs should focus to stay relevant to the business as operational excellence, cost effectiveness and showmanship.
The latter is "the ability to communicate simply and clearly, market a concept or plan, and be convincing to a variety of audiences".
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