The pace of technology is moving at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen, and it’s only going to accelerate. As companies increasingly look to become digital businesses, technologies like big data, cloud, social and mobile are changing the game for IT professionals. To be successful, CIOs need to think about how they are adding value to their organizations in this new digital landscape. It requires a new set of skills, one that is completely different from 10 years ago. According to The Wall Street Journal, CIOs who underestimate the changes in expertise and competency required to develop digital business capabilities will be left behind or relegated to the back office.

Having deep technical expertise is no longer enough. IT professionals today are expected to be better-rounded and possess a variety of business skills to enable them to more easily collaborate and innovate across different lines of business. A prime example of this phenomenon is the evolving relationship between the CIO and CMO that we call the CIMO Perspective.

We recently interviewed several marketing and IT leaders on this changing dynamic, uncovering several key insights around how the convergence of marketing and IT is impacting businesses today. One of the biggest challenges concerned tech budgets outside of IT. According to our research on IT Without Boundaries, 37 percent of technology spending is now controlled by departments outside of IT – including marketing. This is creating pressure points for both marketing and IT leaders around differing priorities, the rise of shadow IT, associated security and compliance implications, speed to market and IT resourcing.

In this case, finding staff with a mix of both marketing and IT skillsets will be key to building a more cohesive approach. Beyond ensuring team members have the skills to work collaboratively across lines of business, CIOs are also faced with the task of making the business as a whole more digital.

Expectations in general around the contribution of IT have changed, and digital transformation is a big driver of those heightened expectations. However, it’s not a simple software upgrade or hardware installation. “Digital business” can be a nebulous term that means different things to different people. Digital mean taking advantage of your digital assets through analytics and big data strategies, it means embracing mobile and cloud platforms, and it can also refer to leveraging tech to generate new revenue streams or customer channels.

Avanade defines a true digital business as one that harnesses digital technologies to compete smarter in the marketplace and create better products, services and customer experiences. For example, one area of focus for us is on enabling our mobile workforce to be as productive on a mobile device as they are on a traditional desktop/laptop.

As organizations continue to embrace digital, the role of IT will continue to evolve. It’s an exciting time to be an IT professional. How is the role of IT changing in your business as a result of digital transformation? What does it mean for your organization to be a true digital business?