“It’s hard for people who for the last 15 years implemented policy in certain ways to suddenly make a 180-degree turn and suddenly be innovative,” said Adriaan van Wyk, CEO at K2, a business-applications software maker that provides programs so CIOs can get the benefits of cloud software without storing their data outside the company. “There are very talented people who can make that shift.”
According to Forrester Research Inc., 13 percent of U.S. technology purchases in 2009 were made by employees outside of a company’s information-technology group, or were initiated by those workers and included the CIO later. By 2015, that combined category will rise to 18 percent, while purchases led by the CIO only are projected to drop to 22 percent from 27 percent.
Smart CIOs are rolling with the changes. At companies like Equinix and Dell Inc., information chiefs are trying to position themselves as gatekeepers to experimentation and flexible approaches rather than control freaks. At the same time, they must safeguard security and keep costs in check.
With models like Docker’s, which is open source, and Yammer’s, known as freemium -- where the company offers a free version and then lets users pay for one with more features -- new technologies often take root in a company before the CIO notices.
“This just speaks to the changing role of the CIO as every person in a business is now a technologist, and we are all charged with making technology decisions,” said Jared Spataro, who oversees Microsoft’s enterprise social marketing team, including products like Yammer.