A shorter post than usual, but I wanted to highlight an interesting article by Brian P.Watson in CIO Insight which quotes, among others, Peter Whatnell, CIO of Sunoco and President of the Society for Information Management (SIM).
While quite a bit of the article is about tactical stuff, the quotes below capture the type of thinking we should be looking for from CIOs, and that CEOs should be demanding. These include:
“Most importantly for IT leaders today, doing the right things means focusing on the long-term view—the strategic components of your plan and that of the overall business, not the bits and bytes of whatever hot technology is dominating the IT buzz”. – Brian Watson
“…the opportunity for IT leaders is more strategic than tactical, more business than technology.” – Peter Whatnell, CIO, Sunoco and President, SIM
“When all is said and done, blending a strategic business focus with the right IT decisions could be what separates the CIO wheat from the chaff. Put those skills together, and you’ll become a true partner: A CIO has to become the internal, go-to expert consultant for every functional head in the organization to help them execute, innovate and enable strategy more efficiently with the right technology.” – Vincent Cirel, CIO, Norwegian Cruise Line
While these quotes are encouraging, we should remember that the requirement for CIOs to be more strategic business partners should not come as a “Eureka” – resulting from the current economic crisis. The requirement has existed for a long time – certainly well over two decades. The difference today is that the consequences of not doing this are much more serious. CIOs and CEOs who do not understand this are putting the very survival of their organizations at risk!