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Global CIO: IBM's Massive Study Says Future Belongs To High-Growth CIOs

An unprecedented study of CIO outlooks, objectives, and behaviors will rapidly and dramatically raise expectations for CIO performance in driving growth and business value.
13) In five years, will your business models be unique and hard to imitate? High-growth 63%, low-growth 49%.

14) Will those future business models include extensive partnering and alternative sourcing? High-growth 60%, low-growth 52%.

15) Do you and your team create IT centers of excellence? High-growth 44%, low-growth 26%.

16) Do your systems and applications make data readily available for relevant users? High-growth 67%, low-growth 51%.

17) Is your data reliable and secure? High-growth 81%, low-growth 66%.

18) Do you manage change successfully? High-growth 61%, low-growth 43%.

The IBM executive who led the study, Global Business Services Partner Peter Korsten, said this newly defined high-growth CIO is deeply committed not just to transforming technology operations to prepare for growth but also to helping actively transform business processes and business models. Korsten, who's also VP and Global Leader for IBM's Institute for Business Value, said the study clearly showed that high-growth CIOs deliver business value in three key ways: they drive real innovation, they focus on and increase IT's ROI, and they are always looking to expand the business impact of IT.

"These transformative CIOs in the top one-third are all about innovation, and by that I don't mean they like to talk about it—they really do it. They make it very real," said Korsten in a phone interview. "They also know they are competing, often very aggressively, for investment dollars from the company with other executives in the company—they know this is an investment game, so they've got to be all about ROI in order to get the funding for their transformative projects. They need to be able to prove what they can deliver, and then deliver it."

The third element--expanding IT's impact across the organization--is "enormously important," Korsten said, particularly in these days when not only is every budget dollar precious but the pace of change is so intense that companies must be able to execute more rapidly and effectively than ever before, and IT can be a difference-making enabler for those capabilities.

"What the study revealed is that CIOs have to be not just innovative but also influential—they have to be high performers in practice as well as in theory, and that's essential for these high-growth CIOs," Korsten said.

So I'd encourage you to check out the whole study at the link above. Yes, IBM's the sponsor, but that's not what's really important—what is important is for CIOs to jump all over this landmark study and determine quickly how they can enhance their standings as high-growth CIOs or begin making the shift from low-growth outcomes to high-growth behavior, objectives, and outcomes.

Because in a world where business models, macroeconomic factors, and customer demands are changing constantly and dramatically, and in which IT will help determine which companies survive and thrive and which ones go into the death spiral, low-growth CIOs will rapidly become an artifact of the past.

GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].