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CEOs: Seeing CIOs as More than Just “Dish Washers”

CIOs are taking a larger role in business — and if they aren't, they should be. This post by Gabriel Perna reflects on his observations at the 9th annual MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge. In the past, CEOs saw the CIO as someone who “did the dishes” — that is — took care of basic IT functions. The CIO role in the future, however, is much more involved and strategic, as Perna learned during a panel discussion of CEOs: 


However, while the CEOs on the panel, such as Richard Soley, Ph.D, CEO of Object Management Group, a non-profit standards consortium for the computer industry, see the “dishes” as part of the CIO's role, they also see their need to be strategically involved within the company. Scott Griffith, CEO of rental car company ZipCar, said in his business, information is seen as a competitive advantage. Thus, he says, the CIO or the top tech executive in the company has to have a seat at the business table in order for the company to say competitive. 

The CIO will be more important, Perna goes on, because of the tightening association between “traditional” business and IT: everything will be online, electronic, and integrated across multiple applications. The CIO will be the overseer of these efforts, and as such the go-to person to achieve business success.

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