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Accenture CIO Modruson Is Not Just Putting Out Fires

Accenture CIO Modruson Is Not Just Putting Out Fires

Accenture CIO Frank Modruson is surrounded by IT experts, but the part-time firefighter still finds time to think about new approaches to collaboration

But what of other trends that threaten the old-style CIO domain, such as offshoring and outsourcing generally? Modruson doesn't see that having a big impact on the relevance of the role and counters that the greater need for digital security is making the CIO role even more important.

"Eighty to 85 percent of our IT is outsourced, mostly to Accenture. In reality, that [CIO] role is not diminished. Your job is to work out the best IT for your company. As technology becomes more pervasive we have to make sure it's not abused. So you spend more time on IT risk. Five years ago it was security, worms and viruses, but we blocked a billion spam messages last month. It's amazing."

What happens next in the CIO role could involve more input from other areas of the business and vice-versa.

"We're seeing more CIOs come from the business, as a rotational stop or to bring that outside knowledge to IT," Modruson says.

"I spent 15 or 16 years consulting so I didn't grow up in the IT, I grew up in the business. The CIO gets to touch a lot of parts of the business. I think you'll see more of that as technology becomes more important."

That ability to look across business silos could be used at executive level to create a strategic advantage, Modruson contends.

"Very few companies have boards of advisors with technology backgrounds," he notes. "I find that interesting. I don't think the board should be composed of technologists but to have one is useful."

And as a leading CIO himself, Modruson has a thirst for both learning and teaching.

"We become a role model for our clients. I present on what's on the mind of a CIO, front and center. Any CIO needs to understand the bits and bytes but CIOs are business people and the language of the business is finance. I also get out and talk to two or three CIOs a week, generally in one-on-one conversations that I find best. I also meet CIOs at events and client meetings. Any CIO will take a call from any other CIO."

That appetite for networking helps keep Modruson fresh for the next challenge, as do outside interests such as his role as a voluntary fireman and a love of opera and fly fishing.

"I sleep pretty well," he says when quizzed about stress levels of CIOs. "I only worry about developing people enough. You're only as good as the team around, you and I have a great team."

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