State of Economy and the Role of CIO

Have you noticed that the perceived role of CIO is dependent on the state of economy?

[BTW: Have you ever wondered who coined the term CIO and when it was first used. It was first used in 1980 by William Synott, then senior vice president of the First National Bank of Boston. (See this)]

Search for pre-recession articles talking about role of CIO – you will see a completely different message from the articles written during the recession. Look at this sample from 2006 – The future of IT value creation in a global economy:

“…creating business value with information technology will soon be less about reducing costs and improving efficiency (the traditional cost-side value creation objectives) and more about supporting activities that lead to new markets, products, services, and strategies (revenue-side value creation objectives) …”

However, by 2008 the mood had completely changed – by then it was all about operating efficiency or putting it more bluntly about cost cutting. This is an example from 2009 – Ram Charan On The CIO’s Role:

“…you have to look at your budgets in three buckets: First, the utility, keep the lights on, keep the computers working. Two is compliance. There will be more regulation. Do the benchmarking, be more efficient, try to standardize. Third are the discretionary projects. The thing I want to caution every CIO about: What criteria you were using in the fall of 2008 to call something transformational may have become irrelevant…”

There are signs of change in the horizon with economy showing signs of improvement. Here is a diagrammatic representation of how this transformation will pan out in the future:

Just wait for the perception to change again.


2 Responses to “State of Economy and the Role of CIO”
  1. Richa Cook says:

    Hi, Udayan – First, heartiest congratulations for being named Ulitzer’s top world’s 30 most influential virtualization blogger. That is a great achievement not just personally but also being able to communicate the latest trends and your opinions to your readers and hopefully influence their decision making or opinion building process. Thank you for being there and spreading the good word.

    To take your thoughts forward on CIO’s changing role, I would like to share this interesting InformationWeek article. It talks about (evolving) CIO priorities for 2010. The URL is

    Great work and keep it coming!


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