By Darron Antill, CEO Intrinsic Technology

The ‘hybrid CIO’ is the latest buzz-phrase I’ve been talking about in IT circles. For me, the very name conjures up images of a non high-tech superhero. A sort of updated Robocop or next-generation Terminator type for the age of Cloud computing. Perhaps they can even save us from floods, power cuts, overcrowded transport links and the Environment Agency if that’s not asking too much!

So, who are these fabled hybrid CIOs? Why are they so different from good old-fashioned CIOs and why’s everyone talking about them?

Well, maybe they’re not quite superhuman but one thing’s for sure: today’s CIOs have a very difficult job. The goalposts have completely changed as hybrid computing environments have developed over recent years due to workplace and cultural demands from the new enterprise workforce. These guys are mobile, IT savvy, consuming apps and data on the move from any public or private source, and increasingly using disruptive technologies in the workplace. CIOs are now having to balance a whole new set of priorities and the business and the people are increasingly calling the shots.

Like everything in life, the new hybrid IT environments have their upsides and their downsides. CIOs may have some time and resources freed up from many of the day-to-day challenges of managing legacy on-premise systems and applications. And with many services now delivered from the Cloud, they can concentrate on finding new and innovative ways of helping their businesses to become truly agile.

But, and it’s a big but, hybrid CIOs also face new levels of risk. Critical business processes depend on their providers’ ability to provide robust, resilient and secure services. Meanwhile, by combining offerings from a number of different providers the hybrid CIO is potentially storing up trouble for the future with over-complicated systems, more supplier relationships and interdependencies.

In fact, according to Deloitte, liability exposure associated with third-party noncompliance “if not managed effectively, can lead to value leakage and adversely impact an organisation’s financial performance, operating model integrity, and reputation”.

Here, I believe the next gen managed service providers (MSPs) can play an important role and be a key partner for the Hybrid CIO. MSPs like Intrinsic can work with CIOs to manage hybrid computing environments effectively and offer a range of migration, consulting and outsourced managed services under a single service level agreement. The result: flexible, cost-effective IT with minimal complexity enabling true enterprise agility.

One thing’s for sure. What the hybrid CIO is not is a yes-man who simply does whatever it takes to support the master strategy handed to him by the business or the ever-demanding employees. These days CIOs are firmly in the driving seat, creating opportunities and forging strategies that help their organisations to achieve more, faster and with happier employees and customers.

So maybe there’s just a little bit of the superhero in them after all! The Hybrid CIO.