by Dan Muse

Today’s CIOs mean business

Aug 01, 2016
CIOCIO 100Innovation

To capture the spirit of this year's 2016 CIO 100 winners, three simple words say it all: We Mean Business.

Sometimes a story’s headline is just a headline, and a magazine cover is just a cover.

Wrong. It’s never just a cover, and never just a headline. We always put a lot of thought into the headlines and cover art we use for our CIO digital magazines, trying out a series of ideas until we find the right combination. And it almost always involves a lot of brainstorming.

Almost. In the case of the June/July 2016 issue, which honors our 2016 CIO 100 winners and welcomes seven new inductees into the CIO Hall of Fame, we didn’t need much back and forth on the cover story’s headline. Three simple words said it all: We Mean Business. On the art side, I think the cover is more than just a cover. Our talented art director, Terri Haas, worked with illustrator Stephanie Dalton Cowan to capture the spirit of the evolution of the CIO and this year’s winning CIO 100 projects.

Realizing that CIOs are integral to business is hardly an epiphany. CIOs have always been serious about understanding, enabling and even driving business. Those verbs, however, imply that CIOs still aren’t really part of the business. They’re only there to help … to guide … to consult. That has changed, however, so we steered clear of headlines about CIO-business partnerships and collaboration.

I also love the double meaning of We Mean Business. On the one hand, CIOs have claimed seats on boards and edged closer to CEOs as digital transformations take hold. The IT executives we recognize this month didn’t wait to be invited, and they’re not unsure of where to focus their time, energy and budgets. They mean business, and they’re taking action.

On the other hand, the CIO role itself now connotes — or should connote — business. We briefly entertained headlines such as “CIOs Get Down to Business” or simply “Getting Down to Business” but avoided anything touting digital transformation, innovation or customer-facing this and that. The message we want to send is that the CIO role equals business. It’s not merely aligned or integrated with it.

Inspiring stories of IT success

The CIO 100 program, now in its 29th year, has always drawn a crowd, and this year’s response was exceptional. Nearly 500 nominated companies vied for 100 awards. Our judges painstakingly evaluated the entries to arrive at the 100 honorees listed in this issue. We then asked writer Beth Stackpole to interview a handful of notable winners to represent this year’s class. Picking five innovative projects from a pool of 100 is no easy task, but we believe the examples Stackpole chose are compelling and inspiring (see “We Mean Business“), and we think you’ll agree.

Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees.