And then there's the Technology Utility category of CIO, wherein "IT is managed as a pure utility and its usage is influenced primarily by cost, availability and the range of technological innovations offered by the IT function." Here again, as an item on a checklist of fundamental tactical capabilities, that stacks up just fine. But ask yourself: is that the sort of approach and capability that's going to help your company dazzle customers and dominate competitors?
In fact, among CIOs who are leading teams in the Technology Utility or Service Center categories, the Capgemini study revealed a stunning sense of doom—or at least inevitable mediocrity—in terms of how those CIOs viewed their firms' ability to compete:
"Only CIOs from the Business Technology cluster think their companies can be leaders in their industry sector."
That sense of leadership is being expressed in entirely new ways that trample over long-held sacrosanct IT beliefs, Draper said.
"We're working with a very large pharmaceuticals company in post-merger integration, and they've decided to totally drop the traditional view of 'rationalize the applications portfolio and then put it all together'—instead, now that they understand the implications and potential of information life-cycle management across all their domains, they're letting that drive how we bring the organizations together," he said.
"It's similar to the declining reliance on the age-old question of 'shall we use customized apps or off-the-shelf apps?' Now, the new focus is on picking the best approach that lets us extract the greatest possible amount of value out of the data we have and the information life-cycle around it."
I think you should grab a copy of the study from Capgemini regardless of which of the three CIO buckets matches your organization. If you're in the Business Technology category, you can get a lot of additional ideas for how to become even more value-driven and strategic, and you can take a moment to bask in your professional superiority (but only a moment).
And if you're in the Technology Utility or Service Center categories, you can get a good, honest self-assessment along with a roadmap for getting the hell out of those and into the Business Technology camp.
In closing and for your inspiration, let me offer a couple of the great quotations from CIOs that are sprinkled throughout the report:
** "Our bank is an IT organization with a banking license," says a CIO from the Netherlands.
** "We have deployed the right IT systems and measured the indicators associated. However, we almost never communicate within the whole organization to enable effective usage of these systems," says a CIO from Finland.
** "IT is product-centric. We have actually shifted our strategy to a 'customer-centric' model away from being product-centric," says a CIO from North America.
Bob Evans is senior VP and director of
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