Finally, the CIO's level of influence in the C-suite can be elevated by transforming the culture of IT. Rather than focusing on what IT does, an organization should focus on the products and services it "sells" to its business associates. It must develop service-level options for its customers to choose how they use technology. Consider, for example, a storage team that has laid out various options for performance, recovery objectives, resiliency and cost.
Managing IT as a business provides several benefits: It creates an entrepreneurial environment for the IT staff, creating more business awareness for tomorrow's leaders; it enables benchmarking of costs; and it positions the CIO as a true operational leader. Success establishes the CIO as a proven executive who can extend leadership across other areas, such as administration, operations and management of business services.
IT is integral to corporate operations and strategy in our interconnected world. For the modern organization, the IT component can mean the difference between greatness and mediocrity. An IT organization at the forefront of the company's strategy contributes to a high-performing business by enabling top-line revenue growth, superior margin growth and excellent customer service.
Today's CIO is in a unique position to assume a leadership role at the executive level, but that individual needs to overcome both perceived and real weaknesses. A CIO who takes a business-first approach, drives strategy, manages flawless execution, and runs IT as a business will be recognized as an executive leader in the enterprise.
Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.