What does it take to be a successful CIO? How is the current economy affecting the role of the CIO? Why has portfolio management become a core function of the CIO? When and where is the CIO best positioned to maximize technology value? When is it appropriate to throw out accepted IT productivity measures? These are among the critical questions explored and analyzed in the second edition of the CIO Desk Reference: Critical Competencies Every CIO Must Master.
The economic boom-and-bust roller coaster of the past three years has been a sharp reminder to business and IT executives about the need for level-headed management and clear vision. During the late 1990s and the first half of 2000, it was a difficult challenge to keep business expectations and spending at realistic levels. When the economic tide changed, the challenge was to ensure that cost control actions were pragmatic (versus irrational cuts in core business and IT capabilities).
During this tumultuous period, some CIOs have used continual assessment and communication of the value of IT investments as a "reality check", enabling them to resist the siren songs of excessive optimism or across-the-board pessimism. Many leading enterprises have followed the example of the financial industry, and applied portfolio management disciplines to business and IT investments, combining the mathematical purity of statistical analysis with business knowledge and intuition. As today's CIO strives to maximize the value of technology investments, the portfolio approach further supports the goal of performing while transforming.
Effective CIOs develop the ability to foster a future vision of the business that is enabled through technology while ensuring the increasingly technology-dependent daily operations of the business run efficiently and effectively. Previously relegated to the CEO, this role of performing while transforming is being subsumed by leading CIOs, as technology becomes inextricably woven into the fabric of business. CIOs capable of mastering both domains and the proper investment patterns in each will find their businesses leading their market, adaptive to changes within it, and increasingly agile in times of uncertainty. These CIOs recognize that today's climate requires a new approach that ensures continual value and risk balancing, adaptive processes that ensure agility, and a common vision that ensures an effective organization.