Recession: Chaos or Opportunity for CIOs?
Not long ago, I spoke with Microsoft CIO Tony Scott, who said CIOs are uniquely prepared to manage through the recession, given (for one) that so many of them have dealt with flat or declining budgets over the years.
That's a solid argument, and one that has been and will be tested as the gloom looms on.
Earlier today I spoke with another CIO who wasn't so optimistic.
"I don't see many CEOs, CFOs or COOs that have dealt with this before, let alone CIOs," says Daniel Lim, CIO of Guittard Chocolate Co. "The environment we're heading toward is so unique. It's a global event that will cause significant damage. And I don't believe many CIOs were prepared for this."
Like many IT leaders, Lim has trimmed back his staff and begun rotating work schedules. His worry is that IT shops can only be stretched so thin. "Once you gear back to the minimum, it's all on the business," he says. "If the revenue doesn't come in to cover those minimum requirements, you're going down."
Still, Lim sees some opportunity for CIOs. He draws a logical analogy: in any company, finance is the blood, operations the body and IT the brain. To be the brain, you have to be the center of intelligence. That's where the opportunity exists: for CIOs to provide the tools and data gathering capabilities to inform business leaders. And in this climate, now's as good a time as any to step up. "Chaos creates opportunity," Lim says.
What do you think? How much can IT do to help your company through the recession?
Sidenote: Lim moderates the new CIO Leadership Board on LinkedIn. It's already attracted more than 100 members in a little over a month, and worth checking out.