by Gary Beach

CIOs Who Dream Big Will Win

Jul 01, 20042 mins

As planning begins for the 2005 budget cycle, I encourage CIOs to follow a few words of advice from Walt Disney, who once said to his management staff, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Over the past few years, many CIOs have developed budgets based on a very different sentiment. Namely, “If you can measure it, you can do it.” Often, CIOs don’t have a lot of time in which to carry out their mandates. Typically, they have 90 days or less to evaluate measurement or ROI.

In five years, we have gone from ambitious and strategic IT projects to IT projects that focus on short-term results. CIOs of the late ’90s were (if anything) great dreamers. Followers, if you will, of Walt Disney’s advice. Granted, many of their IT dream projects turned into infrastructure nightmares, but let’s give CIOs credit for thinking about the art of the possible. And let’s face it: Without taking risks, CIOs can forget about being strategic, influential leaders at their organizations.

The results of a recent CIO Magazine Tech Poll suggest that the current focus on investing in short-term, nonstrategic IT projects is resulting in infrastructures that one CIO calls “brittle.” The poll indicates strong investment trends into 2005 for data networking, telecommunications and infrastructure software projects—just the kinds of projects that have been neglected since the first quarter of 2001.

So as you ramp up your 2005 budget process, follow Disney’s advice by dreaming about how IT can affect your business.

Dream about how technology can transform your organization, leading to higher net income and improved customer satisfaction. Dream about how IT can help you enable business growth at your company while lowering costs. Dream about ways IT can drive improved productivity.

There’s a real benefit to dreaming big. In 2005 and beyond, companies that have CIOs who dream will outperform companies whose CIOs remain asleep at the myopic ROI wheel.