CIO: Career or Profession?

  • Seek convergence in the management of business and technology. The moments of dissension, the pointing of fingers for technology failures, will fade away as executives come to see that business technology failure is often linked to failure to deploy it together with the business strategy. It will become apparent to all that the design and management of business cannot be done apart from the design and management of technology.

  • Rethink titles and organizations. I predict the blending of corporate roles will be commonplace in the future. With the norm for so many years being a separation between technology and the business—resulting in lackluster performance. This is going to be a challenging but exhilarating liberation.

I truly believe the challenges ahead reside not in the technology itself, but in its management. We’re starting to get it right, but we have a way to go. I am convinced that it’s no longer enough to talk about aligning technology with the business. We must create environments in which technology helps shape strategic choices.

This means we must synchronize business and technology decision making. And if we are to be best-in-class, our technology will converge with the business as completely as say, sound financial management. Thus, the path of progress will move from alignment to synchronization to true convergence. And, as the best practices inherent in this transformation are institutionalized and widely adopted, the business technology executive will find what had been a career becoming a profession.

Tom Trainer is a well-recognized and awarded leader in the business technology field. He currently serves as Executive Chairman of BTM Global 2000, a subsidiary of BTM Corporation. Throughout the course of his 40-year career, which includes holding the title of CIO at PepsiCo, Citigroup, Eli Lilly, Reebok International, and Joseph E. Seagram and Sons, Tom has earned a long list of credits including receipt of InformationWeek’s CIO of the Year and CIO magazine’s “Quintessential CIO” for his vision and leadership. He is a frequent speaker, and contributing author on The Alignment Effect and a co-author of Winning The 3-Legged Race.