The CIO Discussion


The CIO role discussion is on fire, and conferences all over the world dedicate considerable time to the ongoing dialog. To add more meat to the discussion, the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) recently positioned Business-Led IT as a model for the future. Chris Mixter, senior director of advisory services for CEB distinguishes it from Shadow IT in this quote from a Forbes Article by Nikki Goth Itoi:  

“This is not about the willful or ignorant duplication of core IT services. Your internal business customers are bypassing IT and investing in activities that are driving a critical business outcome.” 

This emerging Business-led IT is therefore not what we have historically called shadow IT. The CEB recently found that 78% of business leaders’ priorities for 2014 were dependent on technology. This drives a keen interest in business-led IT, which shares three primary characteristics:

  • Funding comes directly from departmental budgets
  • The ideas do not require IT approval
  • Capabilities are delivered using business resources, external providers, and/or the cloud

Where speed takes priority over efficiency or cost, IT could be shut out of critical business initiatives. According to the CEB, the business spends three times as much on innovation as the corporate IT function does. It is said that you can’t be a CIO these days if you are not versed in the business. Considering the previous statistic on the dependence of business priorities on technology, the same may be true about business executives that are not versed in technology. As business leaders become more technology savvy, the business-led IT phenomenon broadens. The above article also positions an interesting twist on the war for talent. Here’s Chris Mixter again:

“Let’s face it, the best technology graduates in the world aren’t terribly stoked about working in corporate IT. They want to go work in marketing, R&D, or supply chain. And none of those functions are held accountable to the strict pay scales in the HR hierarchies that we are.”

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