Completely contrary to what many have preached for awhile now, the naked truth is that educating the CEO about technology is a waste of time and we need to stop. Why? We've just run out of time. Digitization has just met globalization and CEOs of companies that say no to customer demands will lose to those who just say yes-whether the latter can truly deliver to those needs or not.
Worse yet, virtualization with its compelling financials is now barreling right past IT and heading straight towards the corner office. There's nothing that will show the weaknesses in any system faster than efficiency and virtualization is all about efficiencies.
So what's a CIO to do?
Follow The Leaders
CIO Leadership means knowing what the number one problem of the CEO today is and solving it. Today that number one problem is predicting the next big thing that customers will buy. When it comes to the market value of a company in this economy, it's all about new customer revenues. But how could that be the CIO's problem? Isn't that marketing's job? Ask Randy Mott whose much deserved, record-breaking compensation from HP was over US$10 million dollars in 2005. Or ask Tim Shack of PNC Financial. They've figured it out and you can too.
So does that mean anyone working in IT needs an MBA? No. Get one if you want to but that takes time and we've run out of that. Think about the reason you want a "seat at the table" in the first place. You want resources and input into the decisions that affect those resources. You don't want the CEO to tell you how to do your job anymore than he wants you to tell him how to do his. We are the ones that need to change. We are the ones that need to educate ourselves about what our own value is.
The CEO has long since shown he doesn't really care what happens behind the magic curtain, just that it happens. He needs new customer revenues, so go where the behavioral delta is lowest. Prioritize those IT efforts that deliver directly to what the CEO's number one priority is already and you are guaranteed to get whatever resources you need to make that happen.
Stop: to Start
Stop pitching cost reduction. The cost reduction lemon has been squeezed dry and virtualization threatens to wring out the last drop of that. Remember, even if you could reduce costs by 90%, you can only do that once. Then what?
Stop selling FUD to the fearless. CEOs thrive on risk as they know that's where the money is.
Stop focusing on what keeps the CEO up at night and start focusing on what gets him up in the morning- the sound of Ka-Ching.
Start focusing on your inherent and learned strengths; like change management, behavioral analysis and root cause analysis. Who better to spot a new trend, predict end-user (consumer) behavior or turn terabytes of data into useful information than a CIO? No one.
Getting To Ka-Ching
A good CIO is a better VP of marketing than a VP of marketing The CIO knows where the problems are in a company. Focus on how to turn those problems into profits. So you're thinking "With all I already have on my plate why should I take on that responsibility too? " Because you're in the best position to be the most successful and it's time to stop fighting the right battle with the wrong sword. The other two reasons are bonuses and commissions. Ever notice that everyone who already has a seat at the table already gets those?
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.