Alignment the Top CIO Concern? No Surprise
Recruiting and retaining top IT workers is still a huge issue for IT leaders, but alignment on top in SIM's new survey. And it'll be a top concern—and a massive headache—for years to come. Eric Chabrow has an exclusive chat with Stevens Institute IT professor Jerry Luftman, who revealed that aligning IT and business strategies is the top concern for CIOs, according to the SIM survey he authored.
I'm not entirely shocked by this—alignment was the top priority for several years—but I thought recruiting and retaining top IT pros would stay on top, given the tough economic climate and volatile job market.
On top of that, alignment is a rather amorphous, complex issue. Rudy Puryear, Bain Consulting's IT guru, talked to me about this late last year. That came on the heels of a rather controversial study the firm conducted, which found that improving overall IT efficiency before working on alignment yielded better results. (More on that here.)
Something tells me the reason alignment has been such a high concern is that no one really knows what it means. Lining up IT with business strategy sounds rather simple, and necessary, but ask your CIO if it's a bit easier said than done and I guarantee he/she will say yes.
And there are plenty of reasons for that. It's no secret that business execs look down at CIOs and their departments. CIOs aren't strategic enough, business folks often say, though the truth of that blanket statement can easily be debated.
And as Luftman notes in Eric's story, too many executives think they know more about tech than they really do. That means CIOs need to do a better job educating their business brethren about IT. Again, easier said than done: business leaders don't talk in bits and bytes--and they don't want to--so that forces IT chiefs to explain technology in business terms, which can easily give execs a false sense of security that they actually get it.
Starting to get the picture? It's a tough slog. I certainly don't envy you CIOs out there.
Eric's story looks at how many top CIO concerns are actually subsets of the larger, complex issue of alignment. Given the complexity behind the complexity, count on this issue being high on the list for many years to come.
We'll have more on the SIM study in the near future. Click here to see last year's results.
In the meantime, tell us: is alignment a top concern for you? What else is on your radar for the next year or so?