Where do CIOs come from?

Larger companies are more inclined than small and midsize enterprises to cherry-pick from among their own executives for a new CIO. Nevertheless, two-thirds of all senior IT executives are recruited from outside, according to a survey of 607 companies entitled, “2003 Annual Report of Technology Issues for Financial Executives”, released by Financial Executives International.

Analysts speculate that the results indicate that larger companies have a broader pool of candidates from which to choose. Also, they say, company knowledge is a more important CIO selection criterion for companies with annual revenues exceeding US$1 billion.

And what should those newly appointed CIOs be concentrating on? According to Meta Group Inc, as IT organizations look beyond cost-cutting to focus more on creating and demonstrating business effectiveness, IT managers should have four primary objectives. These are: creating an IT culture of value management, mastering IT portfolio management, increasing employee productivity, and refining core IT processes so they are understood, consistent and scalable.

Harry Roberts, senior vice president and CIO of Boscov’s Department Stores LLC in Reading, Pa., put it another way: “Without IT, a company simply cannot exist. We enable everything, from efficiencies in the manufacturing and supply chain processes to taking costs out of a business so it can make a profit. Every CIO I know who is successful is much more knowledgeable about their business than technology. They can surround themselves with other people for that.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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