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CEOs: CIOs can earn seat with competitive advantage

CIOs, strictly speaking, are the people who look after IT. But in order to earn a place in the boardroom, the CIO must also be an innovator, an early adopter, and a contributor to business value. Karen Goulart writes about the importance of the CIO’s impact on business, how it can affect how they are perceived, and how it can accelerate a business into explosive growth and success. Goulart helps explain the point using an observation by Jeffrey Markley: Jeffrey Markley, CEO at Boston-based Markley Group Inc., drew a comparison between the CIO and another C-suite member: the  CFO. If a CFO functions as “just an accountant,” what does that do for the business? He’s doing his job, a job that needs to be done, but adds no unique value. What CIOs do is critical, but if they stick to the strict definition of the role, they’re going nowhere. “It’s really up to the individual. We know people in this room who’ve gone from CIOs to  chief innovation officers, people who are making changes in the organization,” Markley said. “I want to surround myself with brilliant people who are going to make our company stronger, better and get us into new opportunities and make our customers grow and be happy and want to do business with us.” Companies where the CIO earns a “spot at the table” inherently do better. As the CEO of Zipcar explains, they had 4 million reservations on their services last year. The CIO helped develop a way of mining as much information from each reservation as possible, allowing the business to cater more accurately to the needs of the customer, and propelling the company forward past other rental car companies.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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