The Changing Role of the CIO: Benefits Derived

What happens when CIOs build on a foundation of transformation? The changes can be startling, especially when IT is freed up to spend less time on IT and more time on developing relationships and fostering innovation.

“CIOs have to embrace consumer technology rather than restricting it,” said Red Hat CIO Lee Congdon. “You have to find a way to allow business leaders to take advantage of technology.” That not only fosters innovation, but it ensures that the problem won’t get worse, “when they do it without you. Give them the ownership and help them figure out how to make it secure.”

“IT for IT’s sake doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot,” said NYSE-Euronext’s Cassell in a panel on roles and innovation. “Gee whiz doesn’t bring value to the business. You have to
be as knowledgeable on the business side as you are on IT.”

Past CIO of Electronic Arts and McAfee Mark Tonnesen concurred. “You’ve got to get out of your chair and spend time with people in other parts of the company. Until I came
forward, other executives were reluctant to share their thinking. Once I said that IT was ‘open for business,’ we got buy-in almost immediately.”

As an incentive, Tonnesen keeps a budget item reserved for interesting projects. “I can fund something, get it going for a couple of months, and see how well it works.” Congdon
concurs with this strategy. “If you put up the money for something exciting, people who have the passion will find the time to support it. If you can get your business peers excited, they’ll sell the project in their organization.”

(Extracted from CIO Magazine, The Future of IT: From Chaos to Service Automation, Oct 2013)


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