CIO Diary, Avis Europe: Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2010, Cannes - day two

This is a guest post by Adam Gerrard, group chief information officer (CIO) at car rental firm Avis Europe. Gerrard is currently attending the sessions at theGartner Symposium/ITxpo in Cannes. The following post summarises his take on the event’s second day. 

Day two at the Gartner Symposium, unfortunately my last day. As expected, it turned out to be another great day of insight with a lot of information to take in and to take away. My day started with Tina Nunno, who I believe is one of the best analysts Gartner have, taking a packed auditorium through governance diagnostics for CIOs. 
Nunno offered a powerful analogy that compared governance to construction, in which key stakeholder roles are the foundations, processes and teams are the bricks and excellent communications form the mortar. 
Working with this analogy, Nunno demonstrated that, just like building the right type of wall, the correct governance structure can be built and tailored to suit any type of organisation. Without appropriate governance, the IT department and the business change programme will never be able to consistently deliver successful outcomes.
The keynote session today was a Q&A with Wolfgang Gaertner, CIO of Deutsche Bank Private Banking. Gaertner explained how he had transformed his IT organisation from an incremental development team 70% focussed on running systems and 30% on change initiatives to 30/70 the other way. 
The two takeaways from this session were firstly be brave enough to undertake the big transformation, it has its risks but it delivers the greatest results. Secondly, focus your scare resources on the things that really make a difference to the business.
I ended the day hearing Mark Raskino share Gartner’s perspectives on CEO concerns that will set the IT leaders agenda over the next few years. Many were not new, green issues, cash dependency, cost introspection and general market confidence or “lack of visibility”. 
Putting the issues to one side and looking deeper at the CEO feedback within the research, I was drawn to two key findings: the CEO’s focus is moving towards pursuing long term value creation, away from short term ROI and more towards appropriate risk based returns. An organisation’s return on capital needs to be strong enough to attract investors and sufficiently consistent to retain them. The second, but related point, is that 65% of CEO’s believe that IT will make a greater strategic value contribution to their industries in the 2010’s and 2020’s thank in any prior decade. IT is at the heart of almost every business and is the key lever to enabling value creation strategies. 
The CIO’s role is pivotal. We know the CEO’s concerns. We know where to focus resources to deliver the greatest benefits. We know how to govern IT and business change for successful outcomes. The opportunity is here today. CIO’s need to step up to the challenge quickly, before another CxO does.

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