How Technology is Inspiring a New Breed of CIO in Manufacturing: Part 1 of a 5 Part Series

Introduction – Executive Summary

The office of the CIO, first proposed in 1980, has finally come of age.

But why has it taken so long, and what particular demands does modern manufacturing place on those in the vanguard of re-imagining technology’s role? In this executive briefing, we examine the role of the Chief Information Officer, touching briefly on the key steps of what should be their journey from the computer suite to the boardroom. Over five sections, we look at Improvers, Transformers and Inspirers, mapping their skills, talents and experience against the needs of industry. We discuss the place and purpose of technology in the fiercely competitive global market. Lastly, we propose a 5-point plan to help the business meet its goals–and to help the CIO mature into a new form of business leader.

Cre8tive Technology & Design ( will be posting a five part series on How Technology is Inspiring a New Breed of CIO in Manufacturing

Part One – The Rise of the Modern CIO

Things happen fast in tech. New technologies, models, processes and roles emerge in months–and get superseded just as quickly.

Why, then, has the genesis of the modern CIO been such a long–and at times, painful–process?

The first reference to a CIO was in 1980 at the Information Management Exposition and Conference: “The manager of information systems in the 1980s has to be Superman—retaining his technology cap, but doffing the technical suit for a business suit and becoming one of the chief executives of the firm. The job of chief information officer does not exist today, but the CIO will identify, collect, and manage information as a resource, set corporate information policy, and affect all office and distributed systems.”

William Synott, Senior Vice President of the First National Bank of Boston, was very much ahead of his time. For the next twenty years, technology remained the CIO’s primary responsibility. Innovation drove greater throughput, more complex infrastructure, and faster adoption. There was little understanding of the wider commercial considerations.

Greater responsibility, yes; greater authority? Not yet

The boom and bust effectively put paid to technology for its own sake. Even so, the role of the CIO was changing. But while there was an acceptance that organizations were now almost entirely dependent on technology, IT was made to pay heavily for the bursting of the bubble and the subsequent fall-out. Management demanded more, from less, in a shorter timeframe. Day-to-day operations ate up vast chunks of already-limited resources. Innovation took a poor second place. This situation had only just begun to change when the global financial crisis of 2008 again clipped the CIO’s wings. Five years on, the world is facing another even longer and more painful climb out of recession.

So, some pertinent questions:

  1. Does the world need a new breed of CIO?
  2. Does manufacturing need a new kind of technology leader?
  3. What will this new CIO look like?
  4. What will they do differently?

From an Epicor White Paper

About Epicor

Epicor Software Corporation is a global leader delivering business software solutions to the manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industries. With more than 40 years of experience, Epicor has more than 20,000 customers in over 150 countries. Epicor solutions enable companies to drive increased efficiency and improve profitability. With a history of innovation, industry expertise, and passion for excellence, Epicor inspires customers to build lasting competitive advantage. Epicor provides the single point of accountability that local, regional, and global businesses demand. For more information, visit

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