Since the beginning of the rise of cloud computing, some have argued that the technology would ultimately spell the end of the CIO role for many companies. With the ease of on-demand services and subscription-based applications, IT could ultimately be decentralized, the argument went.

According to a recent report, however, the cloud does not seem likely to render CIOs and IT departments redundant. To be sure, the cloud offers a number of important advantages that can optimize IT and reduce maintenance workloads. These benefits, however, do not mean that a CIO is no longer needed.

Rapidly changing IT infrastructures call for the CIO role to change, not disappear, the report said. Instead of heading a team responsible for setting up and maintaining complex, in-house systems, the CIO's role must evolve into one that is dedicated to making responsible decisions "for the policies and strategies associated to the use of the cloud."

According to a recent Gartner study, many CIOs recognize the advantages of cloud computing. The study found most CIOs worldwide view cloud computing as their top technology priority for 2011.