This is the MIT CIO Symposium blog. We invite participation from speakers, sponsors, attendees, and interested parties.

Beyond the Crossroads

By Graham_Rong | May 12, 2011

How will the CIO Role Evolve in the Digital Business World

– An overview of the 8th MIT Sloan CIO Symposium

No longer a crossroads decision, the landscape of the digital world is rapidly changing, compelling enterprise leaders to stay abreast of and transform if they want to maintain a competitive advantage and sustain growth. These paradigm shifts challenge executive leadership. Impacted the most are CIOs:

  • What is expected of CIOs in leading the digital business revolution?
  • How can CIOs be a change agent to pioneer innovation and enable high performing organizations?
  • Conversely, how can organizations support and facilitate strategic thinking CIOs in maximizing business performance and opportunities?

With challenge comes the possibility of business expansion and profitability. From clouds to social networks; from mobility to security, the benefits of digital media can result in a layer of complexity and complication for an organization and its managers. This is where CIO leadership can demystify technology based business solutions, allowing them to become fundamental parts of a company’s operation and strategic approach. Information Technology (IT), rather than simply information technology, becomes smart information AND technology. That is, IT becomes the integration and optimization of collective intelligence—internal and external—via the utilization of varying innovative platforms.

Optimization through innovation accelerates with an organizational business culture promoting and committed to a solid IT foundation and infrastructure. Thus the mental model transforms, recognizing IT as the essential highway and bridge connecting critical business functions, whether back-end or front-end. Within this model, the CIO functions as an intrinsic partner in the management team; IT is understood as a vital component in creating value, strategic positioning and profitability.

So as CIOs, we need to be proactive and forward thinking. We now must be equipped with skills and knowledge beyond the complexities of technical matters. An understanding of the relationship between information technology and the business value chain is paramount. IT can no longer be seen as just instrumental for an efficient organizational infrastructure, but rather it is a necessary element for the bottom-line. As change no longer qualifies as a crossroads decision, CIOs find themselves increasingly proactive and forward thinking. To maintain a competitive advantage, Enterprises must keep abreast and transform. The paradigm shifts challenging CIOs likewise offer innovative possibilities for growth, be it for the company or the individual.

It is this advent of possibilities which bring us to this year’s theme: “Beyond the Crossroads – How will the CIO role evolve in the digital business world”?

On May 18th more than 800 CIOs, CEOs, CTOs, and senior executives from around the world will gather to explore how to profitably leverage digital media at the 8th Annual MIT Sloan CIO Symposium. The Symposium will take place from 7:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the MIT Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge, MA. The full agenda is available at

Symposium attendees will interact with internationally recognized thought leaders as well as peers who are experts in the IT field. They include: MIT, Akamai, McKinsey & Company, Global Crossing,, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Iron Mountain, VMWare, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Charles Schwab, SAS, Intuit, Accenture and State Street, among others. Participants will gain powerful tools and strategies that will enable them to achieve value, strategic positioning, and profitability for their enterprises. This knowledge will ensure their companies maintain a competitive advantage and sustain growth in tomorrow’s digital business world.
Valuable keynote panel discussion topics include:

  • View from the Top: Opportunities and Strategies in the Digital Business World – CIOs will learn to anticipate and adapt proactively to market changes by looking beyond competitors and shifts in the economic landscape, changes in the workforce and customer profiles, and the evolution of business and social environments.
  • MIT’s Perspective: What Every CIO Should Know About the Future Impact of Digital Business – The growth of data, the increasingly digital nature of business, and the dichotomy of enabling without controlling the viral nature of social networks makes the job of the CIO extremely complicated. Panelists will comment on the biggest changes yet to come, how CIOs can prepare for a more mature digital business world.
  • The Evolving CIO Role in Cloud and Mobile Computing Environment – CIOs will learn how to leverage the spectrum of Cloud Computing as a platform: from tactical low hanging fruit scenarios to game-changing transformation.
  • Cloud Computing Spectrum: From Low Hanging Fruit to Game-changing Transformation – Cloud computing is an evolving concept with many different implementations CIOs will learn about various cloud computing solutions and how to prepare for the cloud age.

In addition, forward looking panels addressing new trends and issues include: Workforce 2015—Building the Organization of the Future; New Trends in Cyber Security and Privacy Protection; and Healthcare CIO Beyond The Crossroads: Healthcare Reforms-Economy-Patient Care.

Strategy oriented panels include: Mobility as the Next CIO Innovation Opportunity; New IT Innovation Models; Collective Intelligence and Social Networks; Enterprise Analytics lead to Business Values, and Managing the Extended Enterprise.

The winner of The 2011 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Innovation Leadership Award will be announced. And finally, you will be able to enjoy a cocktail reception and networking during the annual Innovation Showcase. The Innovation Showcase highlights ten outstanding early-stage companies that provide cutting-edge technology and offer new levels of value and advancement to Enterprise IT.

Since 2004, the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium has become a landmark event and the premier International CIO Conference. This year’s confernce builds upon past success whilst infusing the program with new direction in celebration of MIT’s 150th Anniversary. In recognition the sesquicentennial, for the first time in our history, we have partnered with the MIT Industrial Liaison Program.

As the chair of the symposium, I invite you to this eminent and global CIO conference and also a landmark event on MIT campus, where tomorrow is invented today.

About the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium
The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is the premier global event for CIOs and senior IT executives to become better business leaders. In one day, CIOs and senior IT executives receive actionable information that enables them to meet the challenges of today’s changing global economy. The annual event offers a day of interactive learning and thought-provoking discourse on the future of technology, best practices, and business that is not available anywhere else. The MIT Sloan CIO Symposium is organized and developed by a team from the MIT Sloan Alumni Club of Boston, the MIT Center for Digital Business and the Boston Chapter of the Society for Information Management. Visit for more information and registration.
To stay connected to the community developing around the Symposium, please join The Global CIO & Executive IT Group (An MIT Sloan CIO Group), which can be found on Follow Symposium updates on Twitter:

Topics: Business & Strategy, CIO Performance Gap: A CIO vs. CEOs Perspective, CIO Track, Cloud Computing, innovation, IT Governance, Registration, The Latest Word | No Comments »

Leave a Reply