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CIO Review >> Magazine >> April - 2013 issue

CIO "Recipes for Success"


We are in the midst of one of the most-dramatic changes in business and IT. The typical CIO is in a tough spot right now. The job they thought they would do 10 years ago does not exist
anymore. Instead, budgets are slashed, they are being asked to deliver more and more (with less), and there is the constant threat of losing control of the organization as "rogue IT" implementations stream in from all corners of the company. Today, the CIO is struggling
to stay relevant and be viewed as strategic, as the gap between IT and business widens.
The problems are many, but their identities are

IT viewed as Tactical – not Strategic

Within the confines of the C-suite the bottom line is the driving force, and all aspects of the business should work towards future growth and development. IT is viewed as necessary because it is. But, too often the same business case that other aspects of the company may need to make for investment or a change in course
is overlooked, painting IT as a tactical part of the dayto-day rather than an area of strategic decisions that affect the bottom line. IT has a tendency to be feature,
functionality driven and distracted by the next shiny object rather than an area leading the way for future growth.

Lack of Control + Lack of Trust

As more mission critical applications are driven by technology, a lack of trust in IT – whether it is from a security standpoint, or the view (unfair or not) that IT is tactical and not strategic in its thinking – is making the business take control of procuring, securing, deploying and managing newer technologies.

There is also the risk versus reward factor of IT, with any and all issues receiving the magnifying glass treatment. When applications fail, the loss of credibility is hard to measure. With rising stakes of what IT can bring to the business, the pressure is on the
CIO, leading to tactical decisions and overpromising/under-delivering.

With the temperature rising for the CIO to show IT is strategic and can be trusted, trends like bring your own device (BYOD), mobility and community driven social networking are keeping them up at night as legacy organization and business borders are quickly disappearing.

IT Viewed as Mismanaging New 80:20

Let's face it, IT spends majority of their resources, skill sets and budget on maintenance to ensure that the day-to-day is in a place where it can run without interruption. Despite the vital importance of enabling the day-today,
there is a burning need to flip this around, spending a majority on longterm, sustainable business innovation for the company.

But it does not have to be this way! As the old adage goes, challenges always provide opportunity. There is no doubt that cutting-edge IT implementations are one of the most strategic investments a company can make – so there is no reason the brains behind these investments should not be viewed as a key player.