The CEO Barometer

As IT has penetrated all levels of
business, from production to marketing, the question ‘whether IT is critical to the
business or is only need-based’ was well received. The majority says, IT is very critical
to the business and is very much part and parcel of their business strategy. So much so
that it is felt the business will stop if investments are not made in IT or if IT not put
in order. The refrain which was revealed in the poll was an eye-opener: "We have no
choice but to have IT strategy." However, only 1 percent felt that IT is need-based
and is essential only for competitive edge and market advantage.

As far as the IT investment decisions are
concerned, in 85 percent cases, it is the management board with CEO which has the ultimate
authority. Here the CIO is an invitee to the meetings to initiate demands and projects.
However, there are a few CEOs who enjoy the prerogative of taking all the IT-related
decisions. But this number is relatively small.

Now the sad part of the whole story is that
only in about 5 percent cases the CIO shares this right with the CEO. So what ails the IT
user industry is perhaps the minimal role played by the IT chief in the final budgeting.
However, he is still subjected to a lot of questioning by the finance chief, if not him
then the ultimate Boss!

So this reading is contradictory to our
positive findings of ‘IT strategy being a part of business strategy’. If
that is so then our IT man should also be a part of the management board and not have a
proxy presence in the steering committee meetings.

The saving grace: Almost
each and every CEO is only partially satisfied with the state of information systems in
their organizations. While they are proud of the fact that they have indeed achieved a lot
as far as IT is concerned they also know they still have a long way to go.

Can the CIO become CEO one day?
A never ending debate. But the opinion poll reflects a rosy scenario. The majority has
faith in this species who is today undergoing a metamorphosis. He will emerge stronger,
much more assertive and the final decision-maker is the hope and dream we are living with.
Allow him to come out of his shell (systems department) and there he is with the crown!

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