The old rules are changing and with it the old career paths. As business leaders become more tech savvy, infrastructure and applications can be outsourced. Many technologies, even business processes have become commoditised.

For many aspiring IT professionals, the question is now less how do I become a CIO but what kind of CIO do I want to become.

As organisations evolve their business models in the coming decade, a new breed of business and technology leaders are set to emerge to meet the challenge. They will have to navigate converging and disruptive technologies, align new initiatives for both business value and technology feasibility, and identify strategies to exploit existing investments to fund innovation.

In this world, the I in CIO may no longer stand for information, but could be substituted with innovation, intelligence, integration or infrastructure depending on the shape and culture of the organisation.

Constellation Research has forecast that most traditional CIOs will make the move to the chief infrastructure officer and chief integration officer role. Meanwhile a few with business acumen will grow into the chief innovation officer role, but they may face stiff competition from business leaders with a technology bent.

One way of looking at the future of the CIO role is as a portfolio strategist, who can manage the raft of technologies and applications. Slices of the portfolio might be outsourced to a service provider, hosted in the cloud, sat within the company or acquired by end-user teams, but the CIO’s ability to see business value, rather than technology purchases, can apply no matter what the environment.

This is what Forrester describes as “just enough” control in the emerging business IT function.

The research group describes how CIOs will need to build governance and information models like architects, collaborate with many teams like film directors and create harmony among players like a orchestra conductor.

Although the old career path is changing, the new business and technology world will offer plenty of opportunities for CIOs with the right artistic talent.