The role of IT, the business value of IT and its contribution to the enterprise express the essential question that CIOs face. The answer to that question shapes business expectations of IT and its role in the strategy.
Every executive has to answer a question.
CEOs answer how the company’s market value will continue to grow. In order to answer that question the CEO needs answers from each of their direct reports including the CIO.
- The Head of Sales and Chief Marketing Officer answer the question: What is the future company revenues – the top line. The answer defines the company’s product, customer and market structure.
- The Chief Operating Officer, Business Unit Presidents, Manufacturing or Supply Chain leaders: What are the company’s earnings from these revenues – the bottom line. The answer defines the company’s operating structure.
- The Chief Financial Officer: How confident should the company be in its top and bottom line projections. The answer defines the company’s financial structure.
- The Chief Corporate Counsel: What is the legal exposure inherent in the answers to these questions. The answer defines the litigation and risk profile.
- What is the question that the CEO asks of IT?
- What is answer you are currently providing?
- Is your answer the same level as the other senior executives?
Now ask yourself:
- Is it the right question, the one that reflects the value of IT and its resources in the enterprise?
- What is the better question the CEO should be asking
- What is the better answer you give to that question?
If you are answering at a different level, do you think that sets different expectations for you as CIO versus the other C-level positions?
If you believe that you need a different answer, the next blog post will summarize the best answer I have heard to date.