He starts out by stating the obvious that “business demands are increasing”. In the short term, CIOs need to worry about improving current business processes, controlling enterprise costs and raising workforce performance. Longer term expectations are focused on new strategic capabilities that will use information to attract and retain customers and create new market opportunities. These longer term expectations are pushing CIOs beyond their traditional roles and are targeted at improving growth, innovation and competitive advantage.
Are CIOs up to the task? Probably not. He backs this up by referencing a recent Gartner and Forbes magazine survey that found fewer than 50% of CEOs surveyed hold the CIO responsible for the strategic exploitation of information today. And the need for innovation and change do not diminish in difficult economic times – which leads to a need for a new breed of leadership.
Ultimately it comes down to balancing supply and demand where supply is the delivery of resources and services to support business functions vs. the demand of helping businesses innovate through better use of technology. As Mr. Sadagopan says, “while every CIO plans to align IT and business strategy, the irony is that they don’t have enough time for effective strategic planning.”
What’s Next? Mr. Sadagopan says that successful CIOs and organizations will:
- Develop (or rebuild) the credibility of the IT organization quickly
- Reposition IT as a “competitive necessity” and connect information and IT capabilities with the company’s strategies and goals
- Influence the perceptions of other members of the senior management team
Mr. Sadagopan also points out that the “CIO of the future will likely spend one-third of his efforts on operational excellence, one-third on transformational efforts and one-third on innovation and business competitiveness.”
If you’re a CIO – where are you spending your time today?
He ended with this admonition, “successful CIOs – and their vendors – must understand and embrace the dramatic evolution of the technology leadership role in order to remain a productive part of enterprise management”. He also provided a list of CIO imperatives and here are just a few of my favorites:
- Drive competitive advantage through innovation
- Nurture ideas that challenge conventional wisdom
- Create separate IT organizations to focus on the supply and the demand side
- Lead business change
Read the complete essay for all of the details at Sandhill.com