Why CIOs Need to Focus Their Attention on Growth

An open letter to CIOs from advisors and members of the CIO Executive Council advises focusing on customers and new market opportunities

Dear Colleagues:

The combination of this global economic crisis and seismic shifts in technology has created an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to not only mitigate risk and attain stability but to achieve growth and differentiation.

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With our cross-enterprise approach to business information needs and our knowledge about the future direction of technology, CIOs are among the executives best-positioned to lead this opportunity. Using cloud computing tools and new, Web 2.0 resources, we can deliver the resilience, agility and innovation that will propel our companies out of this crisis and well into the next decade.

To succeed, however, CIOs must shift much of their personal focus from the internal—the IT function and its operations—to the external—commercial strategy, customer touch-points and the competitive landscape. These are some of the steps to take now:

  • Emphasize your role as an "agent of change" at the executive table.
  • Create agile processes and architecture so your business can turn on a dime.
  • Look for solutions, ideas and partnerships beyond the traditional boundaries of your organization.
  • Tap the emerging resources of the global business community, social networks and consumerized technology.
  • Originate commercial product and service ideas by studying market trends and external customer needs. Too many of us undervalue these areas.
  • Develop the next generation; bring your senior staff along on this journey.

We, the undersigned CIOs—advisors and members of the CIO Executive Council, urge all IT leaders to make the most of this opportunity in 2009 and beyond—for your enterprise, your profession and yourselves. It's time to step forward as future-state CIOs.

Kenric Anderberg, Philips Healthcare

Twila Day, Sysco

William Deam,Quintiles Transnational

Joe Drouin, Kelly Services

Louis Ehrlich, Chevron

Bruce Goodman, Humana

Kumud Kalia, Direct Energy

Randy Krotowski, Chevron Global Upstream

Gerry McCartney, Purdue University

Todd Pierce, Genentech

John Puckett, DuPont

Leon Schumacher, ArcelorMittal Americas

Thomas Sneed, Marathon Oil

Jeff Steinhorn, Hess

Stephen Warren, U.S. government agency

Marc West, formerly,H&R Block

Robert Willett, Best Buy

The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the individual signers and are not necessarily shared by their employers. The CIO Executive Council is a professional peer-advisory group for CIOs founded by CIO's publisher.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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