by Mark Chillingworth

CIOs must change their nature and be aggressive cost cutters

May 05, 20092 mins
IT Leadership

Go against your DNA, Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash advises CIOs. The expansionary and thrusting forward nature of CIOs needs to be tamed. Ellis spends a great deal of time with CIOs and business leaders and is never afraid of expressing a personal view.  No CIO UK interview or conversation can pass today without becoming a discussion on the economy. It is the thing at the forefront of people’s minds, especially CEOs and CIOs.  Ellis and I began by talking about the performance of the CIO recruitment and outsourcing company he heads from west London and soon turned to how their performance reflects the entire economy. Ellis said no one should under-estimate the appetite for cost cutting. “CIOs must be really proactive with the cost cutting agenda, which is overwhelming at the moment.” He warned, “The CIO on the wrong side of this policy is at risk.” I’ve yet to meet a CIO yet though who likes to be the steady hand on the tiller. In my time as a scribe here, the attractions of the CIO role have been described using verbs, actions and doing words, which sums up the CIO, they want to be changing the business, the process, the technology and the strategy of the company. The dichotomy though is that the call for innovationis still just as strong, just make sure that the change you introduce reduces costs and quickly. This means you will need to have a very good relationship with your CFO. It’s not all doom and gloom though, KPMG today reported that there are signs of the IT recruitment freeze decreasing and Ellis concurs, adding that their is pent up demand, meaning organisations are looking for contractors at the very least to get some mission critical projects on the move. He said there was a knee-jerk reaction following the demise of Lehman Brothers with almost every organisation swiftly banging the “shutters down”. The CIO on route to becoming a CEO will be the one who spots the mission critical project that reduces costs, gets the budget and team in place for it and is achieving the difficult targets set down by the CFO. It sounds so simple, but rarely is.