The CIO plays an integral role in providing business leaders and employees access to the information and systems that are essential to helping them get their jobs done. And as technology continues to change, the CIO role will also continue to evolve.

For instance, the advent of mobile, social, cloud services and Big Data is creating a “third platform” described by IDC that will require an entirely new set of IT skills and roles. According to the IDC report, third platform technologies will redefine 90% of IT roles by 2018. This includes changes to the CIO role in guiding third platform capabilities across the extended enterprise and to end customers.

A big part of this transformation involves the growing use of cloud services by organizations. One of the big drivers behind enterprise cloud adoption is the growing need among corporate leaders and other stakeholders to obtain greater speed and agility in accessing the information they need for swift decision-making. It’s also one of the factors behind the rise in rogue IT purchases made by business leaders over the past several years. Cloud and IT-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities represent new ways of delivering information and information services and are helping to revolutionize how businesses operate.

As business become more digital, companies will continue to develop and make adjustments to applications that streamline business processes. In the real-time digital world, it takes too much time and too many resources to make changes to premise-based software applications. Cloud-based apps that aren’t tied to older enterprise architectures can be modified quickly and easily.

There are multiple parts that the CIO can play with enterprise cloud strategies. The CIO can manage the technological aspects and requirements of aligning new cloud services with the company’s existing IT architecture. CIOs can also take on a leadership position in identifying, planning, and coordinating the changes and innovation that cloud services can offer to the enterprise. Meanwhile, forward-looking CIOs can also be entrepreneurial in identifying commercial services that the enterprise can offer to consumers and other businesses through cloud services that the company manages and hosts.

There’s also a significant role that CIOs can play in delivering increased business value to the enterprise through the deployment of cloud services. Cloud and IaaS offer opportunities to reduce fix IT costs (e.g. reduced reliance on internal servers, storage devices, and other peripheral equipment along with the IT resources needed to maintain these assets) while enabling the enterprise to shift to more of a variable cost model. Companies that are able to change the balance of fixed vs. variable IT costs (e.g. shifting from 70% fixed/30% variable to 60-40 or better) can free up a greater pool of funding for discretionary IT spending that can be used to grow the business, not simply maintain it.

What are some additional ways that the CIO can use their experience and expertise to bring value to enterprise cloud strategies?