The stretch assignment: A CIO's path to burnishing business cred

Transformational projects, culture change, new roles and emerging technologies helped IT leaders from Equinix, Procter & Gamble, 84 Lumber and BP earn credibility from the business.

The stretch assignment: A CIO's path to burnishing business cred
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IT leaders get many opportunities to test their mettle, but perhaps no way is more challenging than the stretch assignment: that ambitious project that forces IT leaders to expand beyond their comfort zone and prove their leadership skills.

Stretch assignments include anything from taking on Herculean projects to tacking on additional roles in adjacent areas of the business. Because such assignments often require transformational or encompassing projects, they are critical for helping CIOs cultivate relationships with colleagues across the business, potentially opening new avenues for IT leaders.

Stretch assignments have many forms and functions, but all help CIOs earn or bolster their current position.

Taking on business transformation

Milind Wagle was working as vice president of global IT at Equinix when then CIO Brian Lillie tapped him to tackle an overhaul of Equinix's quote-to-cash systems, which cover processes that generate price quotes, invoices and other financial records for customers and channel partners. The global transformation pared 15 technology systems that previously operated regionally in 16 countries down to six strategic platforms. In the process, Wagle says, Equinix created a consistent customer experience.

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