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CIO vs

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2007-10-11 Print this article Print

Being aligned with the business is no longer enough, attendees learn at annual Gartner conference. You need to make sure everyone knows about it.

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CIO vs. CEO Attitudes

One of the things the CIO panelists were asked to react to was a survey of CEO attitudes Gartner produced in cooperation with the Wall Street Journal (the results were published as part of a special advertising supplement on Tuesday).

Although CEOs recognize the importance of IT, there is still a gap between their attitudes and those of their CIOs, according to the study. CEOs were more likely to see the need for only evolutionary change, with only 2% recognizing the change for "significant change across the enterprise," while 38% of CIOs saw the need for a broad and significant degree of change.

Also, the survey suggested that while CEOs recognize the importance of IT for maximizing corporate performance by cutting costs, they don't necessarily see it having a large role attracting and retaining customers.

But Centerpoint's Graham said CIOs have to be about more than delivering efficiencies.

"You have to do that to even be at the table," she said, but IT also needs to demonstrate how it can help the business grow. She talked about the importance of "staying away from that downward spiral of talking about the costs," rather than benefits, of IT.

"Growing the business is where companies need to go," Hallmark's Goodwin agreed. "You can't cut your way to prosperity." One of the ways he is contributing is by working on Hallmark's strategy for marketing digital products, in addition to paper cards.

Like Brennan, Graham said she has had success with a strategy of getting the CEO's attention through alliances with her peers. At the utility's last financial planning meeting, she says she went last, purposefully, because she had worked with the other departments to make sure the role of IT in their initiatives was apparent.

"By the time they got to me, the business managers had already validated the dollars. So it was a no-brainer conversation —and it's just fabulous when that happens," Graham said.

David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.
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