Gartner's latest pep talk: CIO as corporate change super hero

It's time for chief information officers to step up and be the big difference makers in their companies.Welcome to another CIO pep talk.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

It's time for chief information officers to step up and be the big difference makers in their companies.

Welcome to another CIO pep talk. This one comes from Mark McDonald, analyst at Gartner. His pitch at the Gartner Emerging Technologies conference in Las Vegas: The CIO role is at an inflection point. Businesses are expecting more out of CIOs and they have to adapt their view of the world to revamp business processes and toss technology metrics around just like CFOs use financial metrics.

"Business expectations for IT are outpacing IT's ability to deliver. It started about six months ago," says McDonald. But that's a good thing, McDonald argues. CIOs can now make a difference and create a culture of innovation.

More from Gartner's conference:


Forgive me for being a touch skeptical here. The room was packed for yet another talk of business alignment, changing strategies and tips on how to connect with what the enterprise wants. Hasn't this song and dance been going on for 20 years? These folks were captivated though and McDonald had some key points.

McDonald gave the following tips: Support revenue growth and inject reality into forecasts, defend the bottom line by changing cost structure and build systems you need not just what you know.

McDonald is convinced CIOs can step up. The problem: A lot of them aren't pushing emerging technologies. McDonald's big takeaway:

"For the first time in five years we're hearing a rumble among CIOs: 'The solutions I have are not the ones I need and I just put in a new solution six months ago.'"

In other words, CIOs are still doing things the same way, but moving from a home-grown system to some other package. There's a lot of money and no net change.

Instead of doing that McDonald is pushing CIOs to keep generic operations running, but focus on distinctive projects that either drive revenue, push business transformation. Here's a look at the current CIO priorities:


And the argument that CIOs have what it takes to be leading the change charge.

Now all you CIOs out there go forward and make a difference.

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