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John Mahoney, vice-president and research director at Gartner, offered a guide to CIOS and IT directors faced with growing outsourcing of IT operations and business processes.
"The CIO is facing a real prospect of becoming a 'zero budget CIO', Mahoney said. To survive they must define and deliver a sustainable value proposition from the IT organisation to the enterprise.
Speaking to CW360.com, Charles Chang, vice-president, Gartner Executive Programs, said that it was important for the CIO to show leadership. "They need to combine vision, a mission and buy-in [from their department] with a need to lead the business forward." He suggested that CIOs should start "managing from behind" by seeding ideas that the business can then adopt.
While Chang conceded ideas could be stolen, he said: "Business will recognise the idea came from the CIO and as such, he will have more control of the project."
This, he observed, would help the CIO regain a reputation for making sound business decisions. Too often in the past, Chang noted, CIOs were left out of important business changes such as outsourcing. Boards had shown a preference to take the advice of consultants and analysts instead.
Chang also highlighted the growing importance of vendor management for the CIO.
Success criteria for the modern day CIO
Lead: CIOs are traditionally good managers but not good leaders. This needs to change. CIOs have a unique perspective across the enterprise and need to exploit this through networking with the right people within the organisation. Starting to lead from the back can earn the right to a place at the executive table and achieve true IS leadership for the business.
Shape demand: CIOs need to be more proactive in engaging with the key players in the organisation to understand the business and to ensure they have real input into shaping demand from the executives.
Set expectations: Project failures are often down to unrealistically high expectations. CIOs need to ensure that they know what can realistically be achieved and become proficient at negotiating effectively with the board and propose alternative solutions without souring relationships. CIOs are not always good at this.
Deliver: CIOs need to address changing business needs and create appropriate partnerships, be they internal or external, to achieve this. They should focus more on creating architectures to drive the way IS organisations deliver results.