IT’s Growing Importance Carries CIO Role to New Heights

When Delta Air Lines Inc. this year promoted its chief information officer, Rahul Samant, to executive vice president, reporting directly to chief executive Ed Bastian, it cited the growing importance of IT and digital technologies in keeping the airline competitive.

The move, and similar ones in recent years at a growing number of firms, reflects the expanding role of CIOs in companies across a broad range of industries, as cloud computing, data and digital capabilities, like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, increasingly drive business strategies.

A recent Korn/Ferry International survey found 83% of 199 technology chiefs say their role was more strategic than it was three years ago, with a growing number sitting on their company’s executive committee — or, as Mr. Samant puts it, CIOs are being “invited to the table as a strategic partner.”