"Having knowledge of how the customer domain operates is key, and it's not a skill that's usually taught as CIOs have been progressing through technology streams," says Hillard.
"It's understanding consumer behaviour, whether it's a B2C or B2B organisation — observing the behaviour of the buyer of the services and the drivers that cause that behaviour to change. CIOs have not been trained in this so they often need to focus on gaining those skills in order to have a peer to peer relationship at the c-suite."
For top line growth to occur, the LOB and IT teams now have to co-operate faster as a team.
"When CIOs make critical decisions on what applications to use, and what solutions should be purchased, to have the CEO and LOB stakeholders in the room for that decision process and not make it an IT-only evaluation will aid that co-operation," says Shahani-Mulligan.
"I'm seeing far more cooperation between the two sides and a much better goal alignment than has occurred in the previous seven years."
Shaving expenses is hardly a new concept for businesses, and recent Gartner research shows CIOs in Australia and New Zealand can expect another budgetary decline. As Moore's law keeps unleashing new capabilities, the CEO expectation is that CIOs should be able to do much more with less because the cost of the IT environment is dropping precipitously.
"There's so much antiquated technology in large businesses today," says Scott Dietzen, CEO of Pure Storage. "It becomes a huge detriment to being able to do new things and consider centre consolidation and application consolidation and so on, so I think the challenge for CIOs is getting out from under technology that's no longer meeting the needs of the business."
This could involve a focus on areas like security and implementing the use of smartphones as part of an overall mobility strategy. Meanwhile, data storage and management, with Flash storage, elastic cloud and SaaS, could be prime areas for cost reduction, saving the business money and freeing up dollars for innovation.
Many CIOs may see innovation and cost cutting as opposing goals, but if done strategically this shouldn't be the case. CEOs will want to know their CIO can manage their IT portfolios well enough so that both savings and innovation are possible.
"Companies that have massively outsourced their IT capability have discovered that one of the things they've lost inadvertently is a massive innovation capability within their organisation," says Hillard.
"That's been one of the drivers for many companies to bring some capability back in-house."
CIOs need to have confidence in their innovation capability and be willing to demonstrate this to the c-suite.
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