Understanding an Organization's View of the CIO: The Role of Assumptions About IT
Michelle L. Kaarst-Brown
At the 2003 Society for Information Management¡¯s (SIM) annual meeting in New York City, many of the sessions focused on what CIOs could do once they got a seat with their business peers at the executive meeting table. Heightened concerns about information security and legislative compliance have increased interest in the an-swer. Despite the importance of IT to modern organizations, many IT executives are still not at that table because they are not viewed as equal to their business peers. Even elevating IT executives to C-level management and giving them the title of Chief Information Officer (CIO) do not guarantee that they are accepted and invited to high-level business meetings. This article provides one perspective on why some organizations are more open than others to affording their CIO an effective, influential, senior executive role. Our conclusion: Dominant assumptions about IT in different areas of an enterprise can explain differences in CIO status. Five assumptions that matter are: 1. Who should control IT direction 2. How central IT is seen to business strategy 3. The value placed on IT knowledge 4. Justifications for investing in IT 5. Who are deemed winners and losers when a new IT system is installed. This article explores these assumptions, and the IT clusters they form, to help CIOs and other senior IT executive better address the different ¡°assumption environments¡± they face.
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