CIOs are finally getting some respect

CIOs are finally getting some respect

up
69 readers like this

on

August 20, 2014
CIO The hidden benefit of keeping the teams intact

Amid all of the pressure on CIOs to innovate while keeping the lights on and fostering better communications and aligning with the business comes some good news: CIO tenure is on the rise.

That’s an observation from Peter High, president of Metis Strategy, a Washington, D.C.-based boutique strategy and management consulting firm, who I spoke with recently. Anecdotal information High has gotten from friends at major executive recruiting firms suggests tenure for CIOs is climbing above four years. High attributes this to the fact that the CIO role is as complex as any role in the corporate hierarchy, and recognition that a longer-term perspective is needed.

Finally! Switching out players used to be easy to do, he maintains, because the rest of the organization didn’t understand what the CIO did. “That’s partially the CIO’s fault, because they used different language and different metrics to measure the performance of IT, creating a virtual black box around the department from the perspective of the rest of the organization.”

Today, however, high turnover would have disastrous consequences, says High, likening the scenario to switching coaches in the NFL.

“The more change is enacted, the more new methods and processes the IT team needs to learn. Each new learning curve means that the path to success is elongated.”

Plus, there are a lot of advantages to continuity for the rest of the executive team. Fostering relationships with the CIO can actually make them more successful, High says, because that gives business leaders greater transparency into the corporate plans that IT brings to life.
“There is a growing number of CIOs who have been in place for double the average tenure or more, and the advantage they have is people, processes and technology that reflect the longer-term perspective rather than short-term fixes.

They tend to have lower costs IT solutions, and more agile operations.” If a CIO’s perspective is that they may not be here in couple of years and they have to rapidly reduce costs, “that means using a machete where a scalpel may be more effective.”

It makes perfect sense when High says it behooves organizations to find individuals who will be with the organization for many years “so a complex set of capabilities are managed well.”
It’s heartening to hear that a growing number of businesses are realizing this.

Comments 0

Harvard Business Review: IT Talent Crisis: Proven Advice from CIOs and HR Leaders

CIOs: We welcome you to join the conversation

Related Topics

Submitted By Scott Koegler
October 27, 2014

CIOs are faced with pressures to implement, change, and maintain secure and operational environments — 3 opposing forces. Stephen Gant, general manager of Modulo thinks that CIOs are in the right spot to lead enterprises in protecting their information.

Submitted By Lee Congdon
July 28, 2014

It’s difficult to change any large organization, particularly an IT organization, where often the reason you got into trouble was because of legacy systems and technology debt. It may require changing some people, changing incentives, and it certainly will involve changing processes.

Submitted By Chris Carroll
May 02, 2014

Finding and keeping talented CIOs is a challenge for many CEOs and boards, but factors like a lack of succession planning, unpopular reporting lines and a lack of C-level acceptance for major IT project can make it difficult for the CIO to succeed, leading to a job life cycle shorter than those of other senior executives. The Strategy& study uncovered some actions CIOs should consider to improve their odds at success and lengthen their tenures within the organization.

Recent Tweets

| Follow @4Enterprisers