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Post M&A IT integration 'a delicate act' for CIOs

Gaurav Sharma | Feb. 12, 2014
Integrating the IT estate of an acquired company with that of the parent is a 'delicate act' for CIOs, says an industry expert.

The EY partner added that CIOs need a stronger voice and more support.

"IT is still probably one of the least understood disciplines across the business functions when compared, for instance, with finance, HR, tax, supply chain or manufacturing. What I mean by least understood is that CEOs and COOs still don't fully appreciate how to better leverage technology and what is its impact. Only when it goes wrong, do they fully appreciate the crucial role it plays in supporting the business."

Within the blue-chip FTSE 100 index, on average only around 20-30 CIOs have a seat on the board in any given year. Most CIOs end up reporting to the CFO who takes their proposals forward to the board.

There are no rights or wrongs here, according to Qui, with the reasons for it ranging from legacy issues to confidentiality.

"And it's not something that only happens in the UK. Ultimately it's about the vision and nature of the business. At most technology companies, regardless of the country of their origin, you are likely to find CIOs on the company's board," he adds.

If anything, Qui finds CIOs within the UK to be more international in their outlook. "CIOs here embrace change a lot easily than some of their global peers. I don't intend to generalise in any way, but have often found that CIOs in the Americas tend to 'in-source' a lot, especially around infrastructure maintenance.

"In Asia Pacific outsourcing is conservative and much more risk averse. In the UK, you'll see a mixed operating model of outsourcing and in-sourcing, which is a good, adaptive way of taking things forward."

 

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