WHEN TURNABOUT IS FAIR PLAY

Presumably, CIOs get paid to discern with what’s truly new and can contribute strategically to their operations, versus what is old-hat, but is essential to keeping their networks (and jobs) running.

Shifting gears between the two, being technical versusne their jobs and to not get involved in the technical day-to-day and be at the mercy of the business units. Thinking about it some more though, now we ask: Are organizations ready for the new and improved CIO?

On our cover, you will find Peter Gapp, CIO of Siemens Canada, who we feel represents the idea of what a thoroughly modern efficient CIO could be.

Quite simply, Gapp does not hung up on latest technical features, or on the promises of simple cost-savings. His first question around any new technology is simply this: if I implement, what exactly will the management issues be?

Those issues, by the way, are numerous, and include the technical, (what will the implications of the existing network be), financial (when will the pay-off be, seldom is it in the first few years) and governance (our systems are global, we need to conform to standards and hold our suppliers accountable to them).

Peter Gapp is one CIO only. Elsewhere in our issue, we discuss the results of a recent survey aimed at finding out why CIOs hit the ceiling. (See Soapbox, p. 29.)

Surprise, surprise, it always ain’t about the CIO. In a nutshell, ultimately, the CIO’s success also depends on the maturity of the organization he or she works for. In other words, does your company set out a role for the CIO to play and encourage the person with that title to thrive in that position? Is your HR department plugged into the IT department including having an understanding or an overview of the CIO’s responsibilities?

But CIOs do need to know what they are getting into before they take the plunge into mirky business strategic areas. Simply put, it’s not enough for the CIO to be ready, the organization must have something in place too.

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