The rate at which technology moves is astounding. Innovations thought of as impossible even five years ago are now mainstream, forcing evolutionary shifts in the way we think, do and play. It also is forcing a shift in the roles most connected to technology — the CIO, for example.

Enterprise 20/20 is a collaborative effort sponsored by HP to understand the seismic shifts happening around enterprise IT and the impact it will have on companies, from the board room to operations, from marketing to the role of the CIO. Through interviews with some of the brightest minds of our generation, we’re gaining a better understanding of where technology is leading us and how we can prepare.

The latest chapter of our eBook, CIO 20/20, discusses the evolving role of the chief information officer, including what skills CIOs will need to succeed by the year 2020. We posed that very question in our interviews, and what follows are some of the responses:

Listening skills. There is constant noise in the system, and it is crucial listen to what people are saying. You also need to have a frame of reference for how you are learning and understanding the foundations of that reference architecture. In other words, you must be able to see the forest through the trees.

— Craig Flower, CIO, HP

The role of CIOs in 2020 will [be to get] information to the line business managers and workers to enable better decisions. At the same time, the CIO will have to have a many more deputies who are specialists in a lot of different areas. … These specialists will need to have a broad and deep knowledge not just of technology, but of the business. The CIO of 2020 needs to have business smarts, technical smarts, and economic smarts. It may be a job that no one person can do. 

— Dr. Robert N. Charette, IT consultant, blogger for IEEE and author of “Back to the Future: The Future Role of the CIO,” published in the Cutter IT Journal

IT will become more distributed  across lines of business, driven by the need for greater agility, and as such IT delivery across the organization will become brokered and hybrid in nature. However the responsibilities for managing brokered, hybrid delivery and the associated quality, risk and cost management won’t be abdicated, and the CIO is likely to have to manage this across the enterprise.

— Mark Potts, CTO, HP Software

What are your thoughts? What skills do you think the CIO of 2020 will need to have? Join the conversation at Enterprise 20/20.