Survey: IT Gains Stature with the Board

Susan Hall

Don't you just love conflicting information? I think that's why no one can really get a handle on what they should be eating. First eggs were bad and then they weren't. So was butter, now considered better than anything with trans-fats. And here nutritionist Darya Pino, creator of the site Summer Tomato, says white pasta vs. whole grain isn't something to get worked up over.


So Gartner, in a survey with Financial Executives International, found that CFOs take a pretty dim view of CIOs' ability to deliver in accord with business strategy. Since CFOs are taking over more traditional CIO responsibilities, I suspected that had something to do with a power grab.


Then Gartner, in a survey conducted with Forbes, reports that though CFOs might not think highly of the work CIOs do, boards of directors do. In its poll of 96 company directors, the number who rated the strategic contributions of IT "high" to "extremely high" grew from 32 percent in 2010 to 66 percent for 2012.


Gartner's Jorge Lopez is quoted, saying:

The pursuit of higher impact for IT in an environment of budget constraint is one that insists on rewriting the rules for how IT acts. There are two dimensions: IT productivity, where the internal operations and structure of IT itself are restructured to perform at a cost vastly different from the competition, and the entrepreneurial CIO scenario, where the IT organization takes a leadership position to rewrite the rules of competition for the industry. To meet the expectations that have risen will require rethinking about how IT operates.

Earlier today, I wrote about how Petco has done a lot of thinking about the way IT operates.


The survey of directors, however, was surprising in that their top priorities were not necessarily board-level concerns such as corporate governance. In fact, of 28 priorities, the top 12 dealt with revenue and profit, the next eight were those board-level concerns, and the lower eight focused on corporate responsibility, including "green" policies, social responsibility, philanthropic activity and political lobbying. According to Lopez:

The prevailing sentiment is one of focus: Pare away all that is not central to the business you are in. The moves will be to reduce the efforts of the business that are off the main strategy, and IT should be no different.

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