Getting Out Of The Engine Room

“There will be outages, and one of these days a disaster,” said Mark Bradley, chief technology strategist at Islandia, NY-based Computer Associates. “CIO’s can get more in control by putting DR plans in place and teaching staff how to execute them via full-scale rehearsals.”

Bradley also preaches realism for those in the CIO seat. Perhaps a few years back, CIO’s aspired to a top-management perch. Some even attained it for a while. But now that e-business has lost its ‘Wow’ top management expects to be served by IT, not directed by it. CIO’s nowadays are far less likely to play a pivotal role in strategy sessions.

“CIO’s no longer dictate what the enterprise can and cannot do,” said Bradley. “The reality is that IT is a service provider for the business as a whole and must be guided by business strategy.”

This viewpoint fits with the experience of Rick Peltz, CIO of real estate investment brokerage Marcus & Millichap. He reports to both the CEO and CFO at his company, and admits that the CFO typically calls the shots.

“The CFO dictates my budget and demands clear cut ROI for any technology purchases,” said Peltz.

Thus CIO’s must view the business as a whole, and work out how to utilize IT to support ongoing strategies. Although that may not be a top echelon function, it is still high up the totem pole. By operating a small notch below top management strategy, it’s up to the CIO to figure out what technology and IT direction will take the company to its goals.

Want to discuss the management issues raised here? Take it over to our IT Management Forum.