Does Your Top Management 'Get' IT? - InformationWeek

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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
5/7/2008
12:37 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Does Your Top Management 'Get' IT?

It seems like an old -- and answered, mostly in the affirmative -- question. But according to an upcoming InformationWeek survey, fewer top execs get IT these days, not more.

It seems like an old -- and answered, mostly in the affirmative -- question. But according to an upcoming InformationWeek survey, fewer top execs get IT these days, not more.In March, InformationWeek Research surveyed 720 senior business and technology executives for its annual report on the evolving role of the CIO. Here's a sneak peek at an interesting result from that "Redefining The CIO" survey, the overall results of which will appear online and in the magazine next month.

Question: What are the major obstacles confronting the CIO?

This answer was among several choices: -- The fact that top management lacks technology vision.

Last year, 30% of total respondents indicated this choice; this year it was 38%. Among CIOs and business technology executives, it went like this: 2007 -- 34%; 2008 -- 41%. And among general business executives, it was this: 2007 -- 19%; 2008 -- 30%.

Is anybody else surprised by this? I thought the days of worrying whether top management realized and embraced the strategic benefits of IT were over. What would be the reason for such an increase in this response, especially in our current IT-intensive environment?

Maybe it's the phrase, "lacks technology vision." I guess top management -- CEO, CFO, etc. -- isn't supposed to have "vision" concerning the use of business technology. That's the CIO's job.

Still, it's disconcerting to see an increase in the number of business executives indicating one of the major impediments to the CIO performing his or her job effectively is that their leaders don't see the future strategic importance of IT.

That's the way I read it -- how do you see it? Does your top management "get" IT, either with a vision of its future strategic importance or simply through an appreciation for the productivity and competitive gains IT can deliver to the business now?

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