In the era of Digitalization many businesses become increasingly shaped by (if not even depending on) Information and Communication Technology including data-driven services and platforms.

In course of this development, business managers must significantly expand their understanding and skills in dealing with the potentials and limitations of information and communication technology as well as data and platform economy in a systematic and targeted way, because the intelligent use of technology and data becomes an integral part of the business or even a critical success factor for the company.

In addition, the increased use of outsourcing services since around 2000 and the triumphant advance of cloud-based as-service delivery models since around 2010 have led to a reduction in the depth of value added for which the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is directly responsible.

These developments have a strong influence on the future positioning and responsibility of the CIO function:

  • On the one hand business managers expand their scope into areas, which were so far covered by the CIO (e.g. IT applications supporting processes);
  • On the other hand the CIO is expected to proactively and adequately support the company’s transformation to digital business models, data and platform economy including the implementation of a digital customer journey, digital education or digital culture (which often goes beyond his hitherto scope);
  • Thirdly, the provision of IT services (in the sense of Service Delivery) is increasingly carried out by external partners, so that the CIO’s focus is reduced to Governance and Service Management.

When CIOs are unable to adapt their capabilities and radius of action to the rapidly evolving challenges of digitalization and cloud-based delivery concepts, the raison d’être for the CIO function gradually becomes very limited. The sneering translation of the abbreviation CIO as „Career is over“ could thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The company management has an important role to play in this: every Executive Board has the CIO it deserves. If IT cost is the only Key Performance Indicator (KPI) in which the Executive Board members are interested in, they should not be surprised if their CIOs focus primarily on cost management and push value added contributions for the business into the background.

The following chart describes the changes and the resulting challenges for the CIO:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - The Chief Information Officer's responsibility (traditional, future)


It is almost superfluous to mention that the aforementioned changes have a considerable influence on the qualifications of a modern CIO.

By the way, the chart above is based on the following understanding of the terms „Digitization“, „Digitalization“ and „Digital Transformation“:

2018-05-02_KuBra Consult - The difference between Digitization, Digitalization and Digital Transformation


Seven major forces drive change in the digital economy:

  1. Digitization/Digitalization
  2. De-Materialization
  3. Automation
  4. Virtualization
  5. Optimization
  6. Augmentation
  7. Robot(er)ization

To enable and foster innovation/disruption, IT managers and engineers working in traditional (linear) business models should develop their way of thinking and leverage fundamental paradigm shifts (see following chart).

2018-06-02_KuBra Consult - Innovation and Disruption through Paradigm shift

Before I come to the announced „ultimate reading list for CIOs“, I would like to outline some essential elements of effective and efficient IT management.

„A fool with a tool remains a fool“ and „If you only have a hammer as a tool, then every problem becomes a nail“ – these are undoubtedly important and correct findings, which apply to the conventional IT management as well as for Digitalization challenges.

Nevertheless, to effectively and efficiently manage large CIO functions in particular, you need a set of good methods, tools and frameworks, the most important of which are listed in the following graphic:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - Methods, tools and frameworks for managing IT organizations

A really excellent explanation on the question why your company needs an Enterprise (IT) Architecture comprising Standard IT Architecture Building Blocks (ABB) is provided in this short YouTube video:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - Enterprise IT Architecture as Basis for systematic IT Landscape Development

The IT Landscape Plan is an important element of effective IT architecture management, since it illustrates gaps (= potential missing IT support), redundancies (= potential double spendings) and dependencies (= potential complexity) between IT systems along the dimensions „business processes“ and „organizational units“:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - IT Landscape Plan

A state-of-the-art IT architecture should rely on standards and best practices, such as the ISO/IEC 27000 family for Information Security Management, ISA 95 for Enterprise Control System Integration, COBIT for Enterprise IT Governance Management or the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) for IT Service Management&Delivery:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - 4-level production IT architecture according to ISA 95 (IEC 62264

COBIT is an abbreviation for „Control Objectives for Information and related Technology“. It is the world’s leading framework for governance and management of Enterprise IT (see: COBIT is a very useful basis for an efficient reorganization of CIO functions in a practical and compliant way. It can easily be combined with ITIL and other IT frameworks that rather focus on IT service management and/or IT service delivery.

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - COBIT 5 Governance Process Overview with 37 Processes clustered in 5 Domains

For each of the 37 IT governance processes, COBIT provides comprehensive process descriptions including process purpose statement, process goals and key performance indicators. A feasible IT Process Management Maturity (PMM) model is included in the COBIT framework as well:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - COBIT comprises a feasible 5-level IT Process Maturity Model

Since resources (people, budget, time, management capacity) are usually constrained, IT projects as well as IT services need to be prioritized utilizing a portfolio systematics. This portfolio systematics needs to be customized to the specific needs of your business and may comprise prioritization factors such as strategy&architecture fit, legal&regulatory compliance, benefits in relation to cost or overall portfolio risk&complexity:

2018-05-18_KuBra Consult - IT Project and Service Portfolio

Effectiveness („do the right things“) is more important than efficiency („do the things right“). Why? Well, if you drive in the wrong direction, even a first-class 600 horse power car, steered by the best driver in the world, won’t bring you to your target destination.

The performance and conformance of a CIO function develop best when both is managed systematically. In this context Peter Drucker’s old wisdom applies: „Only measure what you want to control. And only control what you can measure.“.

An exception to this rule is the topic of „innovation“, where Gunter Dueck’s striking insight applies: „The process is the death of innovation“.

2018-05-21_KuBra Consult - CIO Performance and Conformance Management based on COBIT



P.S.: A „Quick Check“ to determine the maturity level of your CIO organization can be accomplished with a manageable effort between 3 and 30 man-days depending on the magnitude and complexity of the CIO organization. If you are interested in further details please check my homepage


Subsequent you find a reading list with various blogs on major topics with relevance for Chief Informations Officers and those who want to develop into this profession:

  1. A comprehensive introduction into „Digital business models and Platform Economy“ is provided in my blog published on November 4, 2017: (German version:
  2. What tomorrow’s digital champions can learn from Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook & Co. is explained in my blog of the same name published on April 28, 2017: (German version:
  3. The socio-economic consequences of Digitalization are described in my blog of the same name published on March 17, 2017: (German version:
  4. What we can learn from a bread cupboard about the importance of eBusiness for small and micro enterprises is explained in my blog of the same name published on August 8, 2018: (original German version published on April 16, 2016:
  5. The major elements of a „Digitalization strategy for countries (using Germany as an example)“ are provided in my blog of the same name published on February 21, 2018: (German version:
  6. An automatic translation of my blog „The leap into self-employment as a freelance IT consultant“ published on August 9, 2018, is provided here: (German version:
  7. An automatic translation of my German blog „Starting as CIO – experiences and tips for the optimal design of the first weeks in your new environment“ is provided here: (German version:
  8. Good questions and bad questions for job interviews to hire the best talents for your team are provided in my blog of the same name published on February 28, 2018: (German version:
  9. What CIOs really expect from Account Managers is described in my blog of the same name published on April 16, 2017: (German version:
  10. Why Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) projects really fail is described in my blog of the same name published on February 9, 2018: (German version:
  11. „Firefighting: Some thoughts on how to effectively resolve mission critical problems“ are provided in my blog of the same name published on April 22, 2016: (German version published on July 29, 2018:
  12. Major criteria for the selection of IT solutions are provided in my blog of the same name published on April 27, 2017: (German version:
  13. A practical approach for IT cost reduction is provided in my blog of the same name published on January 4, 2017: (German version:
  14. 15 basic leadership principles with proven effectiveness are provided in my blog of the same name published on January 10, 2017: (note: this blog is only available in English language so far).
  15. How to successfully lead global teams is described in my blog of the same name published on February 9, 2017: (note: this blog is only available in English language so far).
  16. What humanoid robots nowadays are already capable of doing you can learn in my blog of the same name published on November 17, 2017: (note: this blog is only available in English language so far).
  17. Crypto Assets – the most important Q&A are provided in my blog of the same name published on December 23, 2017: (German version:
  18. The most important facts and milestones on Bitcoin and Blockchains are described in my blog of the same name published on August 27, 2017: (German version:
  19. How the U.S. government discredits the U.S. American IT industry you can learn in my blog of the same name published on August 20, 2017: (German version:
  20. Why Smartphones are an ideal tool to spy on you, your family&friends and your colleagues is explained in my blog „The spy in your pocket“ published on April 25, 2017: (German version:
  21. What the new rules of the General Date Protection Regulation mean for EU citizens can be read in my blog of the same name published on May 27, 2018: (German version:
  22. How to successfully change a corporate culture is explained in my blog of the same name published on June 10, 2017: (German version:
  23. The unwritten rules of the game are described in my blog of the same name published on April 11, 2017: (German version:
  24. Why you should give good tips to bad waiters in the interest of your personality development, is explained in my blog published on April 23, 2016: (German version:
  25. Four essential factors for an adequate work life balance can be found in my blog published on October 31, 2017: (German version:
  26. Eighteen „brutal truths“ about life no one wants to admit, are explained in a blog published on July 25, 2017: (I have translated this blog into German language on December 27, 2017:
  27. Thirteen things you should give up if you want to be successful, are provided in a blog published by Zdravko Cvijetic (founder of „Zero to Skill“) in December 2016, which is only available in English language so far:
  28. The secret of happy children is explained in my blog published on August 21, 2018: (original German version published on August 1, 2017, see:
  29. My blog under the headline „Unequal land and its consequences“ published on May 11, 2018, is provided here: (German version published on May 8, 2018, see:
  30. „The life lies of the Euro“ are described in my blog of the same name published on July 26, 2018: (German version published on July 8, 2018, see:

Please, let me know, which additional topics you might be interested in. I will consider your input in the planning of my future blogs.

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