Posted by: Arun Gupta
BITA, Changing role of the CIO, CIO, IT budget
I liked the rhyme in the words as I read the headline; it is poetic in a way and in contrast many research companies that are telling us, the CIOs, that one of your top five priorities is to save cost. I still cannot figure out who collates the results and what kind of solutions they use to determine the results, there has always been an outlier that no one agrees with; this includes many who participated in the survey. So when I saw the news about business wanting to spend on IT, it was like an oasis and the heart wished it was real and not a mirage. After all, many businesses I know have been investing extensively.
Over the years we have been hearing the maxim, “Do more with less”, almost to the extent that it has become “the normal”. I cannot remember a year when the CEO and/or CFO did not repeat the phrase chiding the proposed budget for being irresponsible. The banter is part of the negotiation between the CIO and the custodians of profitability. The underlying assumption was and now in some cases still is that CIOs are far removed from reality and they leave stuff like profitability and ratios to other CXOs.
Reading through the lines it was evident that the data points that went into the writers’ hypothesis were of strong foundation. She had industry slices and geographical splits with numbers that were plausible. Interviews with stakeholders validated her statistical inferences citing willingness to invest in IT solutions that provide market advantage or capability needed for growth or to stay where they were. Melodious music to ears with slowly creeping nagging cynicism; if it is too good to be true, then probably …
So I dug deeper, followed the links, unearthing the evidence that has continued to elude respectable research companies professing the contrary, save or die. Having got conditioned to a message, it was hard to believe that there someone has been brave to talk about reality the way it is. The sample size more than adequate to withstand scrutiny, the data irrefutable; some may wonder if she connected with CIOs and CEOs from another planet?
The conclusion was associated with a reasonable set, there were many who still lived in the old world of cost. Progression of CEOs showed IT investment trend line going north. The winners subset depicted converging thoughts between CEO, CFO and CIO, the bulging middle some alignment, and the laggards a big divide. The number of believers in IT is growing and they are happy to talk about their success. The author had decided to focus on good news with a positive bias that was growing than the statistically larger group which is shrinking, albeit slowly. Hallelujah!
We all live under the same sky but have different horizons. Over the last decade and more across industries surviving a roller-coaster economy, many CIOs have been able to create a perceptible shift in thinking wherever they go. These are the business savvy, technology aware, articulate and confident set of CIOs who bring success like the Midas touch (if you prefer a more contemporary analogy, I would compare them to X-Men). The tribe of these outliers is increasing; shortly they will be the majority and it is evident they will shape the future.
Are you a part of this assertive movement? Come join the joyride!