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What CIOs really want

My Between the Lines partner Larry Dignan attended Hewlett-Packard’s analyst meeting in New York today where CEO Mark Hurd stated the obvious--all CIOs want to cut costs and simplify.It's an oversimplification, but Hurd excels at reducing problems to their bare essentials, with all the metrics needed to make decisions less about guesswork or intuition.

My Between the Lines partner Larry Dignan attended Hewlett-Packard’s analyst meeting in New York today where CEO Mark Hurd stated the obvious--all CIOs want to cut costs and simplify.

It's an oversimplification, but Hurd excels at reducing problems to their bare essentials, with all the metrics needed to make decisions less about guesswork or intuition. Regarding major IT transformation projects Hurd said, “From our experience this is a CEO decision executed by a team. If our team (CEO, CFO etc) doesn’t support the process it will fail. When you start transforming you will run into problems. As soon as CEO and CFO blink the transformation stops.”

Clearly CIOs don't make decisions in isolation. Their budgets, ranging from a tens of millions to billions of dollars, obviously aren't private funds to spend on bleeding edge technology or golf club memberships. The most forward looking CIOs are not just focused about cutting costs and reducing complexity to improve the bottom line--they are also thinking about innovation and applying technology to deliver improved business process, products and services.

In the last few years, I have interviewed a dozens of CIOs, CTOs and other IT executives to get their take on the latest trends that are driving innovation in their organizations and what kind of challenges they face in delivering value to their companies.

Following are some of the latest interviews (available in video and text) from our CIO Sessions series, where CIOs talk about what they really want to achieve: PG&E CIO Pat Lawicki talks about energizing one of the United States’ largest utilities with new technologies, such as tagging utility poles with RFID, smart meters that will quickly measure customer energy usage and intelligent grids that will allow for better maintenance and service.

Kaiser Permanente CIO Phil Fasano is focused on making information more accessible online to its 9 millions members. He also discusses new technology innovations the company is developing to improve patient care in the areas of Web 2.0, analytics and RFID.

Office Depot CIO Tim Toews discusses new technologies, such as virtualization, wireless and new search services, that the company is deploying to edge out the competition in the competitive office supply space, online and offline.

BT Design Managing Director JP Rangaswami discusses transformation and convergence at one of the world’s largest telecommunication companies. He also discusses his visionary thoughts on enabling new technologies inside the enterprise such as social networking, SaaS and open-source.

Hilton Hotels CIO Tim Harvey talks about the company’s business intelligence software OnQ and his vision for the hotel of the future, including online check-ins, self service kiosks and personalized RFID cards.

Autodesk CIO Billy Hinners spend most of his career creating industry leading creating design software. He talks about transitioning to the role of CIO and making sure Autodesk has the infrastructure to developer and deliver its applications.

Avaya CIO Lorie Buckingham talks about the promise of unified communications for its more than 1 million business customers around the world and her strategy for integrating innovative communication technologies.

Travelocity CTO Barry Vandevier discusses his company’s efforts to deploy Web 2.0 technologies for the next generation of online travel.

Webcor Builders CIO Gregg Davis talks about constructing high profile landmarks using 3D modeling software, collaborative networking tools and the latest “green” technologies. He also discusses the importance of safety on construction sites where workers use PDAs and cell phones to communicate.

University of California, Berkeley, CIO Shelton Waggener talks about meeting the digital demands of its tech-savvy student population, the challenges of protecting data in an open institution, and innovative technologies being developed on campus.

Qualcomm CIO Norm Fjeldheim discusses his “do or die” approach to supporting new technologies within his organization and funding new ideas by rolling back cost savings into IT.