The CIO’s original role to “keep the lights on and the trains running” has grown stale, according to Deloitte’s 2018 global CIO survey. With the digital era came a new era for CIOs–one in which an emphasis on advanced technologies reigns supreme.

Three years ago, Deloitte’s 2015 CIO global survey identified three pattern types that reflected how CIOs would deliver value to organizations: Trusted operator, change instigator, and business co-creator. At the time, no one pattern was superior, but now, the study determined the role of trusted operator to be growing obsolete, with the focus shifting to change instigators and business co-creators.

SEE: Digital transformation research report 2018: Strategy, returns on investment, and challenges (Tech Pro Research)

From a pool of 1,437 participants from 71 countries and 23 industries– the majority (78%) occupying technology leadership positions–Deloitte determined the two critical mandates necessary for CIOs to embody those two pattern types. The mandates include transforming enterprise business operations, and driving top-line growth and revenue, according to the report.

In order to fulfill those two mandates, the study listed five necessary transformations CIOs must adopt:

  1. Leadership competency and IT brand
  2. IT talent and skills
  3. Operating model and delivery
  4. Enterprise technology platforms
  5. Technology-enabled innovation capability

“Yes, CIOs should build and maintain solid back-end core systems, but they also need to leverage digital technologies to streamline business processes, engage employees

and customers, and drive new value-generating business models,” said the report.

Presently, only 10% of CIOs successfully align technology and digital business strategies, earning the title of “digital vanguard.” The report unveiled the term digital vanguard as the goal for CIOs, a title that leaders should be working to achieve.

“Digital vanguards serve as a guide for what the future may hold beyond current digital initiatives,” said the report.

Digital transformations open a huge window of opportunity for CIOs. As the only position that oversees every department in the business, the CIO can best see what changes are necessary for the functionality of the entire organization.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • The role of the CIO is shifting to a focus on being change instigators and business co-creators, leaving their previous role as trusted operators in the dust. — Deloitte, 2018
  • CIOs should work toward becoming digital vanguards, who are able to align technology and digital business strategies seamlessly. — Deloitte, 2018