In such a fast paced industry it’s hard to look five years in the future and not imagine that the CIO’s job role will have to change in some way. However, recent research has revealed that it’s not only the role of the CIO that will change. The survey of 100 IT Leaders in the UK has also shown that the CIOs themselves will have to up-skill to become influential business leaders.

A 73% majority of current IT leaders were unsure that the CIOs of today will be the right people to lead IT within UK businesses by 2018. Half of those surveyed felt this came down to a lack of general knowledge of business strategy, while nearly half (43%) cited that a lack of technical skills would also be a concern.

Over a third (36%) of respondents believed that current CIOs lack technical knowledge and their skill sets will not be suitable for the IT landscape of 2018.

Many IT professionals are already beginning to realise that their skill sets need to broaden beyond technical knowledge if they hope to maintain their senior positions in the future. There’s also a very real concern that things aren’t changing fast enough since 37% of today’s IT leaders surveyed believed that not enough is being done within their organisations or the industry to guarantee that future CIOs will have the skills needed to achieve business objectives.

The future-gazing responses suggested that the skill set of the next generation of CIOs will have to evolve drastically. Over two fifths (44%) of the IT leaders surveyed felt that the CIOs of 2018 will have to be financially savvy, be innovators (32%), and will need to be able to act as a trusted business advisor (28%).

But beyond these key attributes CIOs will need to be excellent communicators as cross organisational collaboration is expected to be become commonplace in order to achieve overall business success. As such the CIO of 2018 will need to work far more closely with other business heads. Respondents felt the priority would be heads of legal (27%), CFOs (20%) and COOs (18%).

The research clearly illustrates that the role of the CIO and CIOs themselves must change if they are to become the business leaders of the future. But beyond this the study also shows a fast growing opportunity for CIOs to become more strategic in their role, embrace new skills and have a greater impact on the success of their companies.