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CIOs Need to Snap Out of Complacency

The changes taking place in the business world are sometimes lost on the steward of IT, the CIO. Though most CIOs are as comfortable as they’ve ever been (tenure is stable and compensation is up 7%), there appears to be a fundamental disconnect between the business perception of IT leaders, and those leaders’ perception of themselves. In an article for, Kim Nash reminds these technology trailblazers that there is plenty of room for improvement. A survey of 558 IT leaders by IDC finds that far too many business leaders perceive IT as an obstacle, and they do not believe that CIOs are doing enough to simplify IT for the business.

IT Out of the Woodwork

There are ways to ease the perceptual disparity between IT and the business. One is to put IT people on the front line of customer service. That means in-person meetings and a lot more feedback than tech ops are used to getting.

CIO of, Bill Swislow, sends his IT people to meet with product developers directly. This ensures that IT has a better understanding of on-the-ground company objectives, and gives tech staffers the ability to contribute directly to productivity. Similarly, when AES Corp. moved its backroom IT personnel into a Genius Bar-style help desk counter, the reception among the IT personnel was as positive as that of the business.

A Hand Slipping on the Reigns

Already, big picture technology decisions are migrating to other executives, while CIOs are increasingly becoming the orchestrators of cloud services and other IT service providers. One of the things CIOs can do to make life easier for their customers is to create informal interactions between IT and business staff through regular, organization-wide consultations.

Career Ice Water

If you’re a CIO reading this article and still feel complacent in your current role, this quote from Nash’s article should throw some ice water on the subject:

Because more corporate departments have their fingers in the technology pie, a whopping 36 percent of CIOs say they’re involved in a turf battle in the C-suite. What’s more ominous is that 47 percent of non-IT executives agree, suggesting the struggle is bigger than CIOs realize. Some CIOs are losing the battle, whether they know it or not…It doesn’t help that about half of business and IT executives acknowledge the unfortunate reality that IT gets scapegoated whenever anything goes wrong anywhere in the company.

Fortunately, a relatively cognizant, strategy-minded CIO can live to fight another day in this shifting landscape of technology and IT control.

To read the lengthy and substantial full article, visit:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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