Like the cranks who frothily peddled the notion that vaccinations trigger autism, too many uninformed tech-strategy charlatans are still pushing the ancient and empty bromide that CIOs need to "request a seat at the table."
That load of crap will be buried once and for all in 2011 because CIOs who haven't earned that C-suite credibility and autonomy by virtue of their visions and their achievements will be long gone by the time winter turns to spring for the simple reason that businesses without aggressive tech capabilities won't be able to compete in the coming decade.
No matter how slick their marketing or how rosy their past, and no matter how big their market share or how high their CEO's profile, those IT-stunted companies will be pulverized in the coming year by a lethal combination of faster/smarter/better competitors and uninspired and disengaged customers.
2011 is the year in which the CIO profession—once and for all, permanently and without any do-overs—casts off all of the residual crutches that have for so long often rendered CIOs last among C-level equals. Among the all-time stinkers in that smelly pile are ones like "we're a support organization" or "the business just doesn't understand IT" or "we can run what we have, or we can innovate, but we can't do both."
In that context, I'd like to offer up my list of the Top 10 CIO Issues For 2011.
It's a product of hundreds of conversations, discussions, and arguments with IT executives and their teams, tech vendors of all sizes, LOB executives, and some academic types as well. It's not based on any formal research, I'm 100% to blame for any findings with which you don't agree.
I'll start with #10 and move in ascending order up to #1.
In addition, at the bottom of this column and just before our traditional "Recommended Reading" list, I've included for the sake of comparison my list from one year ago on the Top 10 CIO Issues For 2010. So here's #10 from our 2011 list:
#10: Optimizing Opportunities With Optimized Systems. Like all high-performance devices from automobiles to power tools, the very fact that optimized systems can offer stunning levels of performance does not make them ideal for every application. In 2011, CIOs will need to scrutinize where these highly engineered and integrated systems can deliver breakthrough capabilities matched by breakthrough levels of business value, and then move quickly to exploit those opportunities. At the same time, the growing popularity of these systems are going to trigger a wave of new-product introductions that are sure to include some appliances that achieve results that no on really cares about—so CIOs will need separate the killer apps from the lemons.
That cautionary note aside, I believe these optimized hardware-software combinations will be extremely successful in 2011 and cement their positions going forward as indispensable tools for high-achieving businesses. For an in-depth analysis of why these machines are becoming so popular, please see Global CIO: Larry Ellison And IBM Lead Surge In Optimized Systems.
Next up, are you as global as you need to be?