[BE] Midmarket CIO Blog

CIO: A continuously evolving role


Boardroom Events connects regularly with CIOs about their evolving roles, the rapid pace of technological change, and, of course, how that affects user expectations in the business.

Innovate or die! You’re going to be replaced by the Chief Digital Officer!

The hype is as prevalent as rhetoric surrounding the U.S. presidential candidate debates.

When career CIOs reach retirement age, trends in our community are showing companies are a bit more methodical in the hiring process. Depending on company culture and growth structure, many opt to promote from within.

However, succession planning repeatedly surfaces among CIOs’ top strategic challenges. Extensive searches are often launched to identify the just the right candidate with the perfect balance of technical and management expertise and appropriate fit for the company culture.

IDG’s Adam Dennison recently suggested ignoring the hype and instead focusing on leadership.

Half the respondents to CIO Magazine’s State of the CIO survey earlier this year said they fully expected to be in the role of CIO in the next three to five years. CIOs are reporting directly to CEOs at an all-time high, and average tenures are increasing as a result.

But as any savvy C-level executive knows, getting too comfortable with job security is tiptoeing into dangerous territory.

Joshua Aaron

Joshua Aaron, CIO of The New York Foundling, and founder of Business Technology Partners

Joshua Aaron, CIO of The New York Foundling and President of Business Technology Partners, is currently spearheading the design and implementation of technology infrastructure and networking solutions for the growing healthcare provider’s corporate headquarters.

And he’s doing it all on a consultative basis.

The Foundling’s 23-person IT team supports a staff of 1,800 across the New York area and in Puerto Rico.

Aaron said his firm, with partner Rob Pennoyer, has functioned in the role of full time CIO for the past three years. Though decision-making is not autonomous, he reports directly to the COO and makes recommendations on best utilization of the company’s IT budget.

Besides development of the first centralized IT helpdesk and deployment of two enterprise level electronic health record systems, Business Technology Partners is also overseeing a 7-story gut renovation that includes construction of a completely new data center.

“We’ve been able to absolutely revolutionize IT there,” Aaron explained of the multi-year partnership with The New York Founding, adding that staff was previously accustomed to frequent email outages lasting for days at a time.

Though Business Technology Partners’ model works well in the NGO and non-profit space - the verticals rarely offers competitive salaries or extensive development opportunities for IT professionals – past clients have included Reuters and financial institutions like JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse.

Technology heads in the midmarket space are still in high demand, but attentions have shifted from business alignment to leadership and innovation; and the role itself is not one that fits neatly into a clearly defined box.

Orlando | April 3 — 5, 2016

San Antonio | October 23 — 25, 2016

Blair Shiver
Blair Shiver
Blair is a communications specialist with 15 years experience in the print media sector. Prior to joining Boardroom Events, she was a member of an accomplished sales team in the New York City real estate market. Much of her spare time is spent working with local and regional non-profits to help underserved children and promote sustainable development.​
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