Gartner tells CIOs to grow some

At the opening keynote of this years' Gartner Symposium, analysts encouraged hundreds of attending chief information officers (CIO) and IT managers to be gutsier in their businesses when implementing new IT strategies.

At Gartner Symposium's opening keynote, Gartner research director Robin Simpson said that CIOs need to stop looking before they leapt on IT implementations, instead making decisions in the good of the business and then acting on them.

Robin Simpson

Gartner research director, Robin Simpson, at Gartner Symposium 2010. (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

"This new type of CIO won't ask first what the implementation cost is, or whether something complies with the architecture, but whether it's good for the enterprise," Simpson said.

"They will train their teams to think like a business executive, asking first 'is this [implementation] valuable?', and only then asking how can we make this work, rather than the other way round."

He encouraged CIOs to think like entrepreneurs within their business, rather than just technologists serving the company with IT.

"Ultimately, entrepreneurial CIOs will be business people. Even today, entrepreneurial CIOs are starting to push the boundaries of their role," he said.

Simpson said that if a CIO ran an innovative, gutsy department, increased productivity wouldn't be the only benefit.

"This new IT department will be a fun place to work! Imagine it more like a research and development lab than a traditional IT shop. There will be people experimenting with new ideas ... to come up with ways of delivering more value, directly to the external customer."

The research director added that businesses are receptive to CIOs expanding their roles to encompass these entrepreneurial traits.

Peter Sondergaard

Gartner senior vice president, Research, Peter Sondergaard, at Gartner Symposium 2010. (Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

"Our research shows that 50 per cent are currently taking on new responsibilities such as innovation [and] corporate development. The business knows that new technology is critical ... and that IT has the skills to deliver it."

The keynote also saw Gartner's senior vice president of research, Peter Sondergaard, outline the four biggest trends delegates would face over the next five years.

Sondergaard touched on cloud, social and context aware (or location-based) computing and pattern-based strategy development as trends to watch out for in the future where businesses would jump on trends before they happen by analysing customer data.

"The confluence of these four trends will unleash massive change [in IT]. Information will be the oil of the 21st century," he added.

The 2010 Gartner Symposium ITxpo kicks off today and is set to run through to Thursday.