In a warning that gets straight to the point, research company, Gartner, claims CIOs who don't adapt to continuing budgetary and performance pressures risk losing their jobs.
Job security no longer exists in a business climate that is all about stagnant or shrinking budgets.
Gartner said the pressure to perform had made the CIO title "the most difficult and demanding of all management roles".
And the research doesn't get any better. With outsourcing and changing work practices taking hold in mature technology markets such as Australia and the US, these markets are tipped to suffer drastic job losses over the next few years.
One in 10 vendor-based jobs will move to "emerging markets" and one in 20 will shift to the end-user side, according to the research.
Gartner EXP (Executive Programs) research director, Andrew Rowsell-Jones, said today's CIO was a "dying breed" who would not survive with technical competencies alone; a CIO would also need business and behavioural expertise.
Rowsell-Jones pinpointed key responsibilities for CIOs of the future as IT leadership, architecture development, business enhancement, technology advancement and vendor management.
Gartner EXP vice-president, Jose Ruggero, said the CIO role was being reinvented.
"The best CIOs will shift their focus towards greater governance and engagement with the business," he said.
"Organisations demand that the CIO of today and tomorrow is a jack of all trades; an executive that leads like a CEO, analyses like a CFO and executes like a COO leaving the CIO with the hardest job in an enterprise."
The most savvy CIOs were those who could balance their roles as the high-profile executive working on the demand side with business, and deliver value in the IT world where services had become more transaction-based, with standardised and packaged IT products.
Gartner described companies embodying this shift in the IT business environment as 'IS Lite' organisations. These were typically process-based, engaged in outsourcing, had centres of excellence and established application development within the business.
In a Gartner EXP global survey of 151 CIOs, 80 per cent said their organisation showed at least one of these trends.