You’ve heard about it for years: IT and business alignment, or the acknowledgement that CIOs have to bridge the gap between IT and business goals. These days, I’m hearing that IT and business alignment is not enough. What enterprises really want from the CIO is IT-enabled business transformation.
“IT is pervasive in business today,” said executive recruiter Shawn Banerji, managing director at Russell Reynolds Associates, who is “flat out” trying to fill enterprise CIO positions across all industries.
One reason for the rush on CIOs is that enterprises increasingly are taking an approach to running the business that relies on data and analytics, and they view technology as a means to gathering the internal and external intelligence to better understand their customers and marketplace, Banerji said.
IT and business alignment isn’t coming up in recruiting conversations because IT, simply put, is so ingrained in the business. “It’s not about IT transformation, and it’s not about business-technology alignment,” Banerji said. “If you don’t view [IT] through the lens of where the business is going and those desired [business] outcomes — whether it be regulatory compliance, risk management, driving revenue profitability, entering new markets, introducing new products — you’re focusing on the wrong things.”
A recent Gartner survey also reflects a shift in CIO responsibilities to enterprise business goals. Among the 2,014 CIOs it polled, increasing enterprise growth was the No. 1 priority, followed by attracting and retaining new customers, and reducing enterprise costs. In 2010, the CIOs surveyed ranked improving business processes as their top priority, followed by reducing enterprise costs.
IT-enabled business transformation will shape the desired CIO skill sets, but it also is being driven by two new workforce realities: young employees with new work habits and new collaboration needs, and mobile and social media technologies becoming primary work tools. These two realities are part and parcel of a megatrend often referred to as the consumerization of IT.
We’d like to hear what you believe the role of the CIO is these days, and whether the conversation at your company is shifting from IT and business alignment to IT-enabled business transformation.
Let us know what you think about this blog post; email Christina Torode, News Director