Why you're never in the right role

There is a mismatch between IT directors' perceptions of their current and future roles and how their chief executives perceive...

There is a mismatch between IT directors' perceptions of their current and future roles and how their chief executives perceive them.

John Riley

Groundswell

IT directors expect to reduce their technology gate-keeping and service delivery roles and to take on more business strategy and change mastery. Many consultants are getting rich advising how to do this.

But chief executives think differently. They want their IT directors to technology watch, and consider the service delivery role as essential. It's no big deal that IT directors are struggling to become more business aware. That's merely what's expected of all executives.

Superimposed on all this is a raging debate, stirred by analysts, over the future of IT leadership, whether it will be the CIO or CTO.

In truth, IT is not polarised into these two areas. Essentially it comprises three bundles of skills: business understanding/ strategy; IT design and development; and service delivery. But the strategy role is being merged with corporate strategy; and design/development and service delivery are being outsourced. Pedestrian skills - project management, purchasing and supplier management - are vital as IT leaders slip towards their emerging role as technology-focused glorified business development manager, or, if lucky director.

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