It takes a CIO to explain how technologies can uniquely contribute to a strategy. Modern CIOs must step up from simply being an organisational enabler to an organisational shaper. IT has gained a reputation for enhancing organisational efficiency. CIOs, who have traditionally been responsible for IT infrastructure and operations, have played a large part in this. Their role was to ensure that IT could expedite and lower the costs of storing, disseminating and processing information. However, many CIOs have mainly been concerned with reaping the benefits of IT on existing business processes. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, until we start to look at why CIOs are finding their jobs becoming increasingly difficult. The art of making existing businesses processes smoother and more cost efficient has been an important one. Historically, CEOs and other executives would articulate high level business strategies, processes and practices and ask the CIO to leverage IT to support these aims. New business processes could often be introduced and firmly embedded in an organisation before IT had even begun to put its weight behind them. This is a tried and true method that has worked since the beginning of the information age. In the present climate however, this method is no longer viable. This is because IT has reached a tipping point of sorts. Over the years, we have seen IT slowly transition from being a tool to reduce cost to a being a tool to add value. In other words, we have seen IT transition from being used reactively to fix the past to being used proactively to create the future. With the rapid advances we have seen in IT, it is now possible for CIOs to offer solutions that CEOs and other executives simply wouldn’t think of.
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