CIO Publisher Gary Beach and I recently received this question from a friend of ours in the market:
I recently reviewed research indicating that CIOs don’t want to hear about “aligning IT to the business.” That’s old news. Instead, they want to hear about how CIOs are contributing to the business, how they’re innovating for business value. What are your thoughts?
Beach: Alignment is still important, but it seems the leading CIOs have taken alignment to the next level: the convergence of business and technology strategies.
An IDC study this past spring reported that 50 percent of CIOs claim their focus this year will be enabling growth and innovation. Within 24 months, that number will increase to nearly 80 percent. Ralph Szygenda, GM’s CIO, said it best: CIOs are morphing from being information “caretakers” charged with keeping the shop running to being “business brokers” focused on transforming the business.
Friedenberg: While alignment is necessary for success, the message itself has become dull. What CIOs are talking about is the need to create business readiness, reliability and resilience. The alignment and convergence of the business and IT goals achieve this while transforming people, processes and the products they produce. Marc West, CIO of H&R Block, and Bill Morgan, CIO of PHLX, recently shared with me their view that the need for alignment will never go away, but it’s the execution behind the alignment that’s essential.
Another way to think about this is in light of how our economy is changing from transaction to interaction-based. How can businesses use IT to deliver customer loyalty? This is going to be the new value proposition against which every successful CIO will be measured. Hope this helps.
What do you think? Did Gary and I give sound advice or steer a pal wrong?