A key aspect of the current CIO transformation is shifting the conversation from cost cutting to the real return on long term technology investment. That can be challenging conversation - especially if the CIO's role is seen primarily as "keeping the lights on."
So I found this article by Dan woods - "How CIOs Should Use The BlackRock Critique Of Short Term Thinking," - to be a very valuable discussion of the problem - including strategies for the CIO to make the case for long term investment.
Dan says that, "It is all too easy to fit into the role of caretaker of infrastructure. If you have retreated into a cocoon in which your biggest accomplishment is reducing the number of Salesforce.com CRM +1.07% licenses and trimming networking or storage costs, perhaps you are in the wrong role."
As one of the leading CIO resume writers globally, that resonated with me very strongly.
Because it is easy - for even the best CIOs - to find themselves in that role of caretaker. Because the lights do have to be kept on, after all, even if that's not a terribly exciting, challenging, or fulfilling role.
And when in that role, it's too easy to rationalize away the frustration- which is why many of my clients come to me telling me, initially, that everything is great. And then discovering just how frustrated they really are spending time on tasks that just aren't challenging or interesting anymore.
There are two main ways of dealing with that frustration
1) Start the conversation with the CEO. Demonstrate the value that IT - and you as CIO - can bring to drive transformation and revenue growth.
As I've said, that won't be an easy conversation if you're seen as a nuts and bolts guy - but if you've built respect, and if the CEO and your C-level peers are ready to embrace technology, than it can be a great approach.
But what if your CEO isn't going to listen?
There are times when the issue isn't the CIO's lack of vision, communication abilities, or leadership. Even in 2015, there are some business leaders who don't "get" technology.
And nothing you do - unfortunately - is going to change that.
That leaves two options.
1) Stay frustrated.
2) Begin a strategic, proactive job search.
Because there are organizations that really do value what technology can deliver - and are willing to support a visionary, transformational CIO.
My advice? Look at the situation honestly. If you can change the culture of the organization you're in? That can be very satisfying.
But if not? Find a CEO who will respect you and what you bring to the table.