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2/23/2010
08:41 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: Capgemini Splits CIOs Into 3 Groups, And 2 Are Deadly

The good news: 39% of CIOs are in good shape. The bad news: 61% fall into the lethal categories.

Capgemini's fourth annual Global CIO Report (no connection with this media brand) breaks out the 490 CIOs surveyed into three groups, and the growth and career prospects for two of them are not exactly scintillating. But the third one—the Business Technology camp—is the place for CIOs who are unafraid to shatter convention, focus on customers rather than internal processes, and demonstrate that the "go-live" date signals the beginning rather than the end of IT projects and value delivery.

The first two CIO buckets profiled in the Capgemini study portray the IT function as Technology Utility and as Service Center, and those approaches certainly have their merits: technical competence, low risk, maximum predictability, solid reliability, and other internally driven attributes.

But the refusal or inability to transcend those inwardly focused objectives is what will doom the CIOs who are leading those types of IT organizations because they are largely isolated from the drivers of business value here in 2010 and beyond: customer engagement, revenue generation, high-impact innovation, and business-centric thinking and behavior.

"In just the first several weeks of this year, we've begun to see a completely different picture of CIO behavior," said Capgemini Consulting vice president Kieran Draper, who was involved with the global study. "It's a very energized market right now from the CIO perspective as they're moving away from the fixation on cost-cutting and starting to ask, 'How can we in IT help invest wisely to bring more value to the organization'?

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"And that means their focus has already shifted away from being consumed by process improvements and efficiency, and toward things like information life-cycle management and allowing that new thinking to drive a lot of activities," Draper said, adding that more and more CIOs are embracing "the externalization of technology" via cloud computing, SaaS, and social networks.

This forward-looking type of CIO falls into Capgemini's most-preferred category of Business Technology, which it describes like this: "The IT function is a key partner to the business with which it co-develops business services and tends to become a distinctive company asset and a part of its core expertise. IT is considered as one of the competitive levers of the business. Technology and information value is seen more and more in terms of business and company performance." This breed of Business Technology CIO is close to the CEO, the study says, and 37% of respondents fit this model.

Then there's the Service Center model, into which 39% of the 490 CIO respondents fit: "The IT function mostly delivers IT services according to business demands driven by SLA. IT assets are seen as the means of providing a service to the business, although some of them already view IT as an important business asset. Extracting value out of the usage of IT is the responsibility of business owners."

Hey, nothing wrong with SLAs—we've all gotta have them. But SLAs as the key driver behind IT strategy and processes? Dude, that's so 80's! Think about it:

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