Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Changing role of CIO - From Tech Support into Strategy

There is an article in WSJ talking about the changing role of CIO in corporation.

The computing systems they manage have long been seen as an essential resource but also an operating cost to be controlled. Now, technology is increasingly being recognized as a vital tool in corporate strategy -- and CIOs are helping to wield it. Web sites, for example, have evolved at many companies from the equivalent of corporate brochures to huge direct-sales channels that must be skillfully designed and tightly managed.

According to recent CIO polls from research firm Gartner Inc., 50% of CIOs surveyed said they now have duties outside of core technology, such as helping to craft corporate strategy. That is up from about 20% three years ago, says Mark McDonald, a Gartner analyst.

"Companies are requiring CIOs to be more thoughtful about strategy," says Reynold Lewke, a partner in the Palo Alto, Calif., office of recruiting firm Egon Zehnder International who leads the firm's CIO practice. "Many CIOs have become business partners."

In recognition of this job shift, more CIOs are now reporting to top executives such as chief executives, chief financial officers and chief operating officers than to other parts of an organization. Last year, 74% of CIOs surveyed reported to a CEO, chief financial officer or operating chief, up from 69% in 2003, according to Gartner.

As IT becomes more and more important in a corporation, the role of CIO has shifted from purely supporting the internal IT infrastructure to helping to craft corporate strategy and drive company growth. Knowing technology is not enough to be a successful CIO nowaday.

"The CIO title is misused, frankly," says Mr. Ehrlich. If all a CIO does is oversee tech systems, "they should be named a tech manager. A CIO should be enabling a business to grow."

For those who have access to WSJ online, here is the link of the article.

source: WSJ online: CIO Jobs Morph From Tech Support into Strategy


N. Venkatraman said...

Since WSJ has restrictions on posting the full article, Can Raymond or anyone else do a quick summary? Thanks.

raymond said...

Basically, I have extracted the main ideas from the article in my previous post. What the article also talked about are four CIOs describing their new roles in their corporations (which are basically repeating the same ideas in my previous post).

But if anyone is interested in reading the full article and without a WSJ account, just let me know. I can email the article to you.