UPFRONT Wanted: new breed CIO

Most chief information officers (CIOs) are too busy keeping existing operations fine-tuned to generate new business benefits from IT investments. That’s according to David Mark and Eric Monnoyer who, writing in the McKinsey consultancy’s quarterly newsletter, say new generation of CIO leader is needed.
Apparently chief executives of many European and North American companies whose CIOs do very good job of optimising IT assets are disappointed they haven’t done better job of using IT to improve corporate performance.
So what needs to happen? The authors suggest shift from managing IT supply (service delivery) to managing IT demand, or in other words the “task of helping the business innovate through its use of technology”. They also advocate fine-tuning of executive leadership skills, which means getting more involved with overall business direction and strategy.
And it needs to be done without losing focus in terms of keeping the company’s IT heart beating soundly. Problems include clash of priorities such as cutting IT costs on one hand and spending more to generate future revenue on the other.
In companies where executives are more successfully capturing value from IT investments, critical hallmarks of success include having critical mass of company executives who understand IT costs and investment; widespread business accountability for IT; and business and IT managers who actively study and seek innovative business opportunities.
The CIO of one large European construction company apparently refers to his role as “chief innovation officer”.

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