by Gary Beach

Most CIOs Fail to Convince Top Management That IT Can Transform Business

Nov 01, 20062 mins
IT Leadership

CIOs may claim they talk the value of IT talk, but they’re certainly not walking the walk. In fact, most CIOs seem to be failing badly at convincing top management that IT can truly transform a business.

Right now, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that corporate profits grew at double-digit rates for the 16th consecutive quarter. You have to go back half a century to find that many consecutive double-digit profit growth quarters.

Three-plus years of strong profit growth should be good news for CIOs and their budgets. But it hasn’t been. Gartner recently issued an ominous report forecasting that technology investments will lag behind top-line growth for the next five years.

So why is tech investment limping along at rates that are half of profit growth?

I put the blame squarely on the CIO.

For three years, CIOs have reported in our “State of the CIO” surveys (for all the data, go to that the focus of their IT investment strategy is to enable business growth and innovation. They claim that their top management priority is the alignment of business and technology strategies. Moreover, topping their list of their most important professional skills—the key to their success—is the ability to communicate with CEOs and line-of-business executives.

So why isn’t the rate of investment in IT paralleling the rate of profit growth?

It seems apparent that while CIOs may be communicating with their business colleagues, they aren’t convincing them of the value of investing in IT.

So, what can they do?

One modest suggestion: Send me an e-mail and I will send you (from the CIO Executive Council) the definitive work on what constitutes value in IT. The 449 worldwide members of the Council, all CIOs, have built what they call the IT Value Matrix, which is a road map to defining IT value.

This road map will help you walk the communication walk.