Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What CEOs Want From CIOs

Recently, InformationWeek published an interesting article entitled What CEOs Want From CIOs, written by Bob Evans. He made a list about what CEOs want from CIOs, based on the opinion of a variety of experts:

1- Create new products, and help business units do so more rapidly
2- Create new revenue by innovative leveraging of existing applications and systems
3- Deepen the company's engagement with customers, both old and new flow
4- Create and enforce global standards for processes and applications
5- Unlock new ways to find, deliver, and assess higher-value information
6- Reverse the 80/20 glut to make those first six possible
7- Create a massively transparent organization with all metrics focused on business value
8- Demonstrate forceful leadership and take responsible ownership
9- Don't align and don't whine

Below, some information and opinions that he considered to make this list:

- In December 2008, McKinsey released a report called "IT's Unmet Potential" that calls out the 80% sinkhole in the 80/20 equation as a huge factor in keeping that potential from becoming reality. The McKinsey report says many CEOs are eager for the CIOs to be more assertive as "thought leaders" helping to enhance the company's competitiveness, but too often the CIOs can't take advantage of that opportunity because they are consumed by maintenance battles.

- Gary Loveman, CEO at Harrah's Resorts, says he needs his CIO (IW 2007 Chief of the Year Tim Stanley) to help him conserve cash in a business that loves to consume massive amounts of capital.

- Management consultant superstar Ram Charan says that for 2009, CEOs want and need their CIOs to become very aggressive in conserving cash and gaining a deep understanding of why cash flow is so vital to businesses today.

- At First National Bank of Omaha, which controls $20 billion in assets, president Rajive Johri has set a very aggressive agenda for his CIO: create a seamless set of experiences across technology platforms that customers find easy and valuable; help create new products that create more value for existing customers and/or attract new customers who otherwise would never give any business to FNBO;

- Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) executive VP and CIO Randy Mott, who recently completed a sweeping transformation of HP's global IT infrastructure and processes that ranks as one of the top CIO achievements ever, said that CEOs want CIOs to create a global set of standard applications and processes that enable greater capabilities and higher speeds at lower costs.

- CEOs want CIOs to be assertive and forward-looking, not reactive and inward-looking; and yes, CEOs want their CIOs to be "thought leaders".

- the concept of "alignment" was fine for another time but it doesn't fit the highly fluid times we're in today. If you stick with the alignment thing, you're always going to be told what to do, told how to follow up, and told that it would probably make sense to flush your department and hire an outside outfit that specializes in this stuff. If that happens, don't whine -- you've given up that right.

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