04:05 PM

Coming Soon: Servers With Embedded Virtualization

CMP Information Week
InformationWeek Daily - Wednesday, Sep 12, 2007

Editor's Note

Are CIOs Disappearing (Part II)? If They Don't Master Business Value, The Answer Is 'Yes'

Readers offer various explanations to the question we first posed last week, but the central theme is that too many CIOs remain overly focused on IT arcana rather than revenue growth, customer loyalty, and competitive advantage.

Some say companies don't list their CIOs on their public web sites so as to thwart cold-callers from IT vendors. Yeah, maybe, but there sure are a heckuva lot of other execs listed, of just about any stripe you can think of---don't they buy anything that would have cold-callers pursuing them? That one doesn't hold water.

Some say it's because CEOs are greedy, blind, ignorant, or all of the above. That is no doubt a comforting rationale for IT professionals who feel they've gotten the wrong end of the stick, but again, I'm not buying it as a well-grounded explanation.

One reader said the CIO and CTO jobs are morphing into a new type of role centered on governance, which will lead to the emergence of a new role---chief governance officer---that displaces the CIO and CTO. Intriguing idea, but I'm not gonna bet on that one, either.

The answer that makes most sense to me is that many IT execs, while excelling within the technology side of their positions, have not aggressively mastered business issues, strategy issues, and customer issues.

As 'Jay in Baton Rouge' puts it: "As I look back in retrospect at my former position, I can see that I didn't have the skills and experience to do what my former directors needed -- translate the technology needs into business terms that they could understand....I think there needs to be more training -- and maybe it's already there in the Masters programs of the world, but I haven't seen evidence of it -- for technologists who need to be able to do this translation. That's where IT Managers' credibility will come from."

'Middle Man' says that the shift is coming from the other direction: mainstream businesspeople are becoming more technically savvy, thereby reducing the need for IT involvement in all things technical: "I think that this is happening because technology is getting more user friendly and business side users/management are becoming more technologicaly savy. I have seen at my company where business managers have programming staff report directly to them. They and their staff sometimes work with IT to come up with solutions that fit the business and sometimes work independent of IT on solutions depending on the systems needed in the solution. Going in this direction reduces the need for hierarchal management in IT perhaps this is the reason for the trend."

To read more about disappearing CIOs, and let us know what you think, visit the InformationWeek Blog.

Bob Evans

Quote of The Day

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."-- Mark Twain

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