The CIO: Executive With Many Hats

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Integration of IT with business infrastructure has created more responsibility for CIOs, affecting the impact solution providers can have on entire companies rather than just IT departments.

Peter High, president of Washington, D.C.-based strategy and management consulting firm, Metis Strategy, told attendees at UBM Channel's XChange 2013 in Washington, D.C., that traditional CIO executives are evolving into "the executive with many hats."

According to High, CIOs are becoming more strategic and it is time vendors and solution providers begin thinking about the CIO in a bigger sense.

[Related: The Perennial Channel Question: Why Should I Do Business With You?]

Jeff Kubacki, senior vice president and CIO of ATK, an aerospace, defense and commercial products company, is one example of an executive with multiple titles. Kubacki also serves as head of corporate supply-chain management.

In an on-stage interview with High at XChange 2013, Kubacki told XChange attendees that ATK's inclusion of its IT department as part of its business plan has given him more leverage to drive down costs and increase growth.

Kubacki said one key to his success is giving vendors insight into his business objectives, IT objectives, account plans and conditions of satisfaction. In response, vendors are able to propose solutions aligned with his business intentions. In addition, Kubacki said a scorecard system is in place for account executives to be made aware of how they are performing against those conditions of satisfaction.

According to Kubacki, the bottom line for CIOs is having the ability to "create an actionable and affordable IT strategic plan."

George Bardissi, president of Bardissi Enterprises, a Philadelphia- based solution provider, said, "IT is the mechanism in which these businesses are going to operate." Bardissi added, "If companies are not looking at technology as part of business, they are already behind."

"CIOs are having to innovate," said Dipesh Patel, principal at Arlington, Va.-based consulting company Pariveda solutions. "For us, it makes business more collaborative; we are building ideas with partners rather than just taking orders from them."

Patel noted that the CIOs who were ahead of the curve began taking on more titles and responsibility more than four years ago. The heaviest push in the marketplace for integrating IT with the rest of business, Patel said, has occurred within the last three to four years.

Bardissi said the CIO transition is a positive driver for business, as long as CIOs are still reachable. "IT is a core cog in the wheel. The more people who look at [IT] that way, the better we will be."


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