CIOs influence spreads as role gets bigger

CIOs influence spreads as role gets bigger

CIOs are becoming more influential within their organizations as they forge closer ties with business and their role gets bigger.

IT executives in Australia today are at an inflection point, they are no longer the chief mechanic but stepping into a whole new leadership role, according to Marianne Broadbent, author of The New CIO Leader.

"They have gone from management to a leadership role; it isn't just about what decisions are made today but setting a path for others to follow in the future," she said.

Describing Australian CIOs as more resourceful than their overseas counterparts, because of their ability to do more with less, Broadbent said the period of CEO disillusionment with IT has passed and business and technology groups are closer than ever.

Brisbane City Council CIO Tony Welsh agreed and said the focus of the job today is on business value.

"IT needs to move away from just running IT operations; we need more innovation," he said.

Currently Welsh said most innovative ideas are coming from lines of business.

For example, it is the business groups, he said, that are driving the introduction of a mobile workforce and e-government initiatives at the council.

Speaking at a Gartner Symposium roundtable on the CIO Agenda for 2005, Kelly Jones, CIO of Deutsche Bank A/NZ, said IT has to be anything the business needs.

But she qualified her point by saying IT can shape strategy and contribute to the business, particularly in an education role.

This doesn't mean IT simply responds to the demands of business, IT can contribute to the success of an organization and overall operations. "CIOs are no longer running traditional IT organizations, but utilizing external resources such as outsourcing, and managing vendor relationships," she said.

Gartner VP Mark McDonald released research showing that spending will grow about 2.6 percent. "There was a lot of consolidation in 2003 but this year we have emerged out of the hole of cost containment," he said.

"We are now seeing CIOs creating business value without upfront capital investment; the focus is on business intelligence and improving business processes."

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