CIO: The Buck Doesn't Stop Here - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
6/24/2008
09:36 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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CIO: The Buck Doesn't Stop Here

How involved are CIOs in corporate decisions? Fewer report being involved at the front end of important decisions, more being brought in only afterward. That's not a good sign.

How involved are CIOs in corporate decisions? Fewer report being involved at the front end of important decisions, more being brought in only afterward. That's not a good sign.In our "Tomorrow's CIO" research survey of 720 corporate managers and CIOs and VP-of-IT-level executives, we asked them to characterize the role of the CIO in corporate decision-making. And the results, looking only at the responses from our CIO and tech exec participants, were surprising.

>> The CIO is actively involved in making/driving most big business or corporate decisions at our company: 30% -- 2008; 38% -- 2007

>> The CIO is consulted on most big business or corporate decisions at our company: 47% -- 2008; 46% -- 2007

>> The CIO is brought in only after most big business or corporate decisions at our company are made: 22% -- 2008; 16% -- 2007

Contrary to conventional wisdom, fewer CIOs, not more, report being involved on the front end, in the "making/driving" part of corporate decisions. That's surprising because the general impression is that CIOs have made progress as participants at the executive table. And progress is defined as helping to articulate corporate goals and plot strategy -- i.e., making decisions.

Even more surprising is that the difference between this year and last year in front-end decision making falls directly down to Option C -- being brought in after most big decisions already are made, bypassing Option B, the "is consulted" option, almost entirely.

That suggests a retrenchment in the role of the CIO. If so, what caused it? And what should CIOs be doing about it?

Business decisions increasingly involve technology decisions. The CIO should be the executive making those technology decisions -- or at least being involved on the front end.

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