CIOs as Value Creators

CIO’s Can Be True Value Creators

CIO’s can be true Value Creators. Why aren’t they and why are they not viewed as such?

Adjunct to these questions is: Why are they considered staff people? In a day and age where IT and ITES are so relevant and key to businesses, shouldn’t they be line people?

A “line function” is one that directly advances an organization in its core work. This always includes production and sales, and sometimes also marketing. A “staff function” supports the organization with specialized advisory and support functions (Wiki definition).

Sadly, CIO’s are not known to directly advance the organization’s core work. Why? Why do they play second fiddle? The bigger leadership on big data, digital media etc. is taken by the marketing people, who are ill equipped to understand and use the technology. CIO’s should be taking the lead, and holding Marketing’s hands in using such technologies. They should take an evangelising role in internet, intranet and web based solutions, in digital media and in big data, to mention a few areas.

Is this because traditional functions remain traditional? Or is it because the concept of Value Creation has not caught up with CIO’s? Or CIO’s view efficiencies, controlling software development spends as Value Creation, but not leadership in bringing in new technologies and getting others to use these wisely and usefully? How much time would be saved if they took the lead, and marketing followed their advice? Today CIO’s get involved when there are IT problems or when someone asks them to address a particular software or digital media related issue, or when they are instructed to build a platform.

An example of a proactive CIO is HP Global CIO and senior vice president Ramon Baez who explains in an interview to CIO publisher emeritus Gary Beach how the new business drivers of cloud and mobile contribute the bottom and top lines. He also discusses IT costs, security, the need for top IT talent and the increased speed necessary to compete in today’s business environment. It used to take three weeks to provision a database. Now it takes five minutes in a cloud environment, says Baez.

Why can’t he be considered a line guy?

Vishal Bindra, CEO of ACPL a security and service firm in IT had the following comments:

1. Many CIO’s are not sure they can add any value. They listen to people like Gartner and KPMG and follow them “almost” blindly.

2. They are technology and not process/customer driven. Better processes and customer focus will have a more direct impact on business.

3. Unfortunately, in the last few years is they have become a much pampered lot by IT Product companies and they are becoming too biased in their decision making.

On the other hand we have some great CIOs who have contributed and become the integral part of organisation’s business, such as people at Apollo Tyres, Perfetti, and Maxlife.  They have all been contributing to business and using “Information” not Technology.

Jeanne W. Ross and David F. Feeny of the Centre for Information Systems Research at the Sloan School of Management reached the conclusion that the Chief Information Officer has emerged as a critical executive position in most organizations. Increasingly, CIO’s sit on firms’ executive teams and help shape organizational strategy. His role is to be a Business Visionary.

Do CEO’s need to re-assess their old fashioned ideas of business organisations and give CIO’s a line role? Do CIO’s need to understand that creation of value is their job, or do they need to understand what value they can create? Do business schools need to teach Value Creation for CIO’s, and for leadership roles?

CIO’s need to ready themselves for leadership and Value Creation roles.

Your comments are welcome.

Call at (+91) 9971288580  

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Gautam Mahajan, President-Customer Value Foundation
M: +91 9810060368
Tel: 11-26831226, Fax: 11-26929055


Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) focuses the entire company and its employees on Creating Value for the customer, thereby increasing Customer Value and Shareholder Wealth.

Explore posts in the same categories: Business & Management

One Comment on “CIOs as Value Creators”

  1. This is like hitting Bullet on the head.

    It is very clear that 21 st century on wards we are entering into information age. As Einstein had said in 20 Th century that as per his equation of e=MC(square) that all matter and energy are interchangeable in this space time cosmos.(we are waiting for nuclear fusion to become commercially viable)

    The 21st century on wards we will have everything known to us convertible to information bits. So you will have humans , factories , products and services everything getting converted into information bits , it is matter of time.(we are waiting for quantum computers to become commercially viable)

    This information age will be run by computer hardware , software and networking to generate big data which will be analysed to produce results which are neither possible either by humans or machines.

    So Chief Information Officer in the 21st century commercial enterprise will be a pivotal role :

    1. Whether he is working in a pure computer / information firms like Google , oracle , IBM , Intel , Microsoft ,Facebook etc etc
    2.Whether he is working in a normal business producing products and services like cement, steel , auto , hotels , airlines etc etc

    It will be his job to streamline all the line functions in a normal business enterprise

    Technical side : Projects , Production or QA/QC
    Commercial side : Sales,Purchase or Finance

    Get everything integrated generate the big data , do the analysis and give feedback to management which neither humans nor machines can give.

    In a normal commercial enterprise the executive pillars are :

    CEO Chief executive officer
    COO Chief operation officer
    CMO Chief Marketing officer
    CFO Chief Finance officer
    CIO Chief Information officer will be the 5th pillar.

    Earlier the companies understand it the better it is for them , because competition is going to go on increasing only and now we will have permanent situation where supplies of product/services will always be more than demand at any given time so it is survival of the fittest.

    Here your Chief Information Officer can use big data analytic s to provide you the cutting edge information which neither humans nor machines will be able to provide.

    This will be the difference between the winners and losers in this cut throat competition age and Chief Information Officer will be the real Value Creator in the Information age which is already upon us.

    With Kind Regards,
    Gavin Dhir
    Head (Commercial/Sales,Marketing,BD)
    Geosteel LLC

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