CIOs need to make a bigger dent in the boardroom; grabbing strategic opportunities so they can influence IT decisions in business budgets, says analyst group Gartner.
The analyst firm warned that CIOs must consider IT a "bi-modal" organisation, something Gartner defines as both an "enterprise-strength IT", responsible for delivering reliable and efficient IT services and "opportunistic IT" where there are new opportunities and revenue streams for the business.
By ensuring the organisation has access to enterprise-strength IT, the CIO must use every opportunity it can to make his or her presence felt during the first stages of business strategies, and put IT expenditure at the core of the budget.
Cassio Dreyfuss, research vice president at Gartner said: "The road toward a digital future requires transformational action from IT through disruptive innovation while continuing to run 'business as usual' at the expected level of excellence."
"IT must therefore operate at high-performance levels at two very different modes."
"Over time, IT has graduated from being a support tool to being a business enabling and a business creation tool. Under that much broader and inclusive perspective, it makes more sense to talk about IT-related expenditures in each and every business initiative and respective budget.
"In this way, the CIO is challenged to adopt a higher profile and actively engage in opportunities to influence IT decisions in business budgets."
Gartner said that "appropriate" IT budget decisions will follow different paths according to the organisation and taking this into account is crucial.
What to bring to the table
The analysts firm suggest four key objectives to bring to a budget discussion:
Information architecture: Knowledge of the information that is used in the organisation, who uses what information, when, how and with what objective.
Business process networks: Knowledge of the processes in the organisation, wall to wall, their rules and dynamics, who performs them, when, how and with what objective.
Operations infrastructure: Mastery of how to run all those processes and deliver all that information, their cycles, their integration requirements and all their interfaces with people.
Technology scenario: Comprehensive and educated perspective on the technology scenario and its evolution, and the features, opportunities, challenges, risks and the economics of IT tools.
Michael Smith, vice president at Gartner said: "These characteristics legitimise CIOs and their teams as advisors to all budgets in all functions within the enterprise."
"In addition, IT leaders will advise business leaders on how to secure, integrate and manage the quality of the information that fuels digital business. These capabilities are what CIOs and their teams will have budgeting responsibility for as traditional organisations make the transformation to digital businesses."
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