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CIO: Enhance IT’s Reputation with 4 Extreme Makeovers

Welcome to Extreme CIO Makeover, the article that dispels all the negative perceptions about the chief of IT, and replaces them with true and wondrous virtues. Mark Samuels writes for ZDNet offering a few methods for how CIOs can improve their department’s image.


Former Axin CIO Ian Cox points to a lack of passion as a common ‘downer’ that puts IT in a less than favorable light. Sprucing up your attitude, putting vigor into your step as a CIO might require a little soul searching to discover which aspects of the job delight and inspire you. Once you know what you love, use that passion to evangelize your counterparts in the C-suite. Forget about the concept of “IT” in your business interactions. Instead, get wrapped up in conversations about shared values and common goals.


Working Links CIO Omid Shiraji has this to say about undergoing continual education as part of IT’s perennial reputation repair:

“Many organisations are willing to support short courses for IT professionals, like ITIL…But, from an executive leadership perspective, companies do not understand that you need different skills from other business leaders in order to be a really successful CIO.”

CIOs everywhere can benefit from a little training. Unfortunately, in the absence of a formal, established education, the chief of IT is forced to hobble together their continuing improvements in piecemeal fashion. Part of their image problem stems from the absence of institutional support, and this is a catch-22, since the very source of training (the organization) may deny support based in part on the CIO’s reputation.


Andrew Marks, who is former CIO of Tullow Oil, cites the age-old language gap between technology professionals and business as a major turn-off for the latter. Nothing says, “I don’t really care about your values,” like a person who doesn’t attempt to speak the native language. Unfortunately for CIOs, the exchange will never be a two-way street, (The business will never learn to speak tech.) but at least IT chiefs know where they stand when it comes to communicating with the LOB.

Setting Precedent

And lastly, Reliance Mutual Insurance IT head Richard Norris acknowledges that CIOs don’t always choose to have an image problem. Depending on which company they work for, they might have a supportive structure, or they might be perceived as a cost burden. In the latter scenario, your reputation will improve each time IT can deliver positive results to the business. A good place to start, says Norris, is automation of standard processes.

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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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