CIOs are invaluable during an economic downturn if they understand how technology supports all the business and can communicate their knowledge to business leaders.
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CIOs are in a stronger position than many other senior managers to improve their corporate standing as businesses look for IT leadership during tough times.
But they must be able to translate the benefits of IT in a way that CEOs and CFOs understand to win the hearts and minds of the business.
Matt Smith, director of UK regions at recruitment firm Harvey Nash says that because IT is ubiquitous in business, CIOs understand how technology can benefit the whole company. They can use that understanding to help the business justify investments in IT that help the organisation as a whole.
"If a CIO understands this, then IT is a business enabler and not a cost and can become a competitive advantage," he says. "When there is nervousness around the economy there is more scrutiny around projects and budgets so you need a water-tight business case."
Kevin White, content director at CIO connect, a network of IT directors, has yet to see any signs of job insecurity among CIOs. They are in a secure position if they are good at their jobs, he says. "A good CIO has a broad and informed view of business strategies and processes and has the IT know-how to deliver. Anybody with these competencies is well placed to hold on to a job in the current market."
Over the next 12 to 18 months businesses will have to change to cope with the slowdown and they will need someone to drive the IT aspects of this more than ever.
The level of Job security within the CIO community is a sign of the importance of IT to businesses during bad times as well as good. This value will not wane because change is constant and business change requires IT leadership.