News & Highlights

2025’s revenue generating CIOs

An executive roundup of VMware’s exclusive CIO Forum in Barcelona.

This year’s VMware CIO Forum in Barcelona focused firmly on the changing role of CIOs, as they become ever more business oriented.

100 CIOs, from 20 different EMEA countries, came together on 4-5 November for the exclusive two-day event: Adapting to the World of 2025: Strategies for tomorrow, business outcomes for today.

They gathered to share their challenges and ambitions and explore the 2,000 days ahead, which take us into 2025. Our experts discussed how adaptive CIOs will embrace the coming five years.

Day 1 Takeaways

Generating revenues

Joe Baguley, our VP and CTO for EMEA said CIOs will become the primary source for innovation and the driving force behind corporate strategies. They will play a critical role in transforming business models, with 90% expecting to have revenue generating responsibilities. In so doing, CIOs will move “from the machines room to the boardroom.”

Strategic leadership

Kirsten Cox, VP Marketing EMEA and Jean-Pierre Brulard, Senior VP and GM for EMEA, talked about how strategic CIO leadership – their skills and ambition, processes and technology – will drive real business value going forward.

Day-to-day skills

A panel of innovative leaders, including Jorrit Ebben (Academy Het Dorp), Elma Bos (Dutch Police), and Ahmad Yahya (American Hospital Dubaï), demonstrated how exhibiting day-to-day collaboration, transparency, leadership and innovation became pivotal to their roles.

Enhancing employee experiences

And Velchamy Sankarlingam, our VP of Cloud Services Development and Operations, addressed the common criticisms CIOs receive: “My home network is faster than my work network”, and “Why is it taking so long to start a meeting?” He explained why employee experience is critical to drive an effective and memorable customer experience.

Day 2 Takeaways

Essential leadership skills

David Coulthard, British former Formula One racing driver turned presenter, commentator and journalist, had a lively discussion with Kirsten Cox about what CIOs need in order to head up transformation in their organization.

  • Collaboration: a pit-stop can be accelerated by sharing data and know-how, with trust, transparency and openness.
  • Leadership: comes from the capability to analyze failures and remediate problems efficiently. “You have to look people in the eyes and own success and development needs.”
  • Innovation: CIOs must recognize their mission. David mentioned that car designers must take a step back from what they know, to make what customers expect.
  • Trust: decisions are ultimately human, and even if machines, technology and technical development evolve, success and failure come down to people and trust.

Preparing for the next 2000 days

Will Thompson, VP and MD of Forbes Insights gave some practical advice on CIO leadership transformation. He advised CIOs to:

  • Show you’re CEO-ready. Fast learning is a requirement. So, develop the capability to “thought lead” and drive organizational strategy.
  • Get a holistic vision. Share it with your whole company. Don’t stick with an “internal startup” model.
  • Orchestrate change management. Forbes Insights estimates 80% of companies will significantly change their culture. CIOs can lead in this.
  • Address the skills gap. By 2022, more than 42% of roles will require new skills. CIOs need to consider this now regarding their own job roles.
  • Embrace your revenue-generation mission. Forbes Insights found that 50% of IT services will have to shift from a “cost center” vision, to a revenue center.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger unplugged

CIO Forum concluded with a wide-ranging conversation with Pat Gelsinger, who was proud to mention the event was carbon neutral. He answered CIO questions which covered the following:

  • The need for CIOs to deliver revenue. The conversation will become even more interesting between CIOs and VMware, which wants to support and help create new business opportunities.
  • The role technology plays in helping the world. This came from a CIO living in Lebanon, anxious about instability. Pat’s conviction is to start with education, and to use technology for online teaching and community building.
  • VMware being one of the best employers in the world. Pat responded genuinely that VMware lives its core values. One of these is humility, he said, referring to the fact that he is a farmer as well as being VMware’s CEO. “I do think humility should rise with the level of responsibility,” he commented.

VMware and Forbes Insights Report

It’s clear that the CIO of 2025 will drive fundamental enterprise change, and that now is the time to prepare for an evolving job role. This was the key finding of our exclusive report – The CIO Of 2025: Driving Fundamental Enterprise Change, which can tell you more.

  • The report predicts that by 2025, CIOs who are already leaders in corporate strategy and innovation, will be much more heavily invested in business outcomes, with direct responsibility for generating revenue.
  • Our research also found that half of today’s CIOs expect to be CEOs by 2025.

We produced this revealing report in collaboration with Forbes Insights, and you can download it in full, at the link below.

Download the complete research report here to get the full picture.


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