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CIOs: 5 issues to win your CEO's attention

Chris Curran, PwC Diamond Advisory Services | March 7, 2011
Some CIOs complain that IT department performance and project status dominate discussions with the CEO. If you want to change the conversation to IT's role in innovation and strategy, consider these five issues, advises Chris Curran.

4. You should expect "ambidextrous innovation" from IT. Eighty percent of CEOs believe innovation will yield efficiencies and lead to competitive advantage, according to PwC's 14th annual Global CEO Survey. Technology is an important way of capturing both. Yet when it comes to conversations with the CEO, often they don't explicitly acknowledge that they expect the CIO to contribute to both sides of the equation. In fact, according to our most recent Digital IQ study, only 25 percent of CIOs said their primary role in business innovation was focused on priorities such as creating new products and services, reaching new customers and improving customer service. Listen carefully to the CEO's expectations from the IT department in terms of support for innovation. Reset expectations about IT capabilities so that they are aligned with the CEO's priorities.

5. Technology is a barrier to your strategy. Unfortunately, technology and its application can create barriers that stop a company from reaching its goals. Things as simple as outdated e-mail and social media policies can hamper the way the company communicates with its customers and employees. Too much process, inflexible governance, rogue IT initiatives, maintenance of out-of-date applications and the like can take IT resources off-course. Don't wait for the CEO to tell you how IT is hampering your company's performance. Listen carefully to other business leaders. Get out in the market and see for yourself. Dig into the analytics about IT performance. Then, armed with the facts, initiate the conversation with the CEO about your ideas for removing the barriers.

Every CIO/CEO relationship is different; every company has its own priorities. But for the CIO who aspires to contribute even more to the success of the organization, to create greater opportunities for the rest of the IT team, and ultimately fulfill the CEO's strategic agenda, conversations about these issues can be a good place to start.


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