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IBM: CIOs to take on catalyst role

Posted on: February 24, 2009

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 16:29:00 11/17/2008

Filed Under: Technology (general), Computing & Information Technology

MAKATI City, Philippines — Chief information officers (CIO) will have pivotal role in ushering enterprise-wide integration and collaboration across company ecosystems, an IBM executive said.

Jeanine Cotter, vice president of systems services for IBM global technology services, said four IBM studies revealed the need for key executives, especially the CIO to better communicate with increasingly business savvy customers and partners while fostering collaboration across business lines and organizations to drive growth.

These studies include the 2007 CIO Leadership Survey, 2008 Global Human Capital Study, 2008 Global CFO Study and 2008 Global CEO Study.

Faced with increasing challenges CIOs and other officers of organizations are now expected to focus on “enterprise-wide integration” to enable better communications across departments, Cotter said.

The study showed that executives also see collaboration across business lines as key to unlocking hidden talent, identifying new opportunities and discovering an organization’s potential to innovate.

“The changing business space coupled with these two themes stressed the need for CIOs to take charge in driving business transformation with IT,” said Ruth Seah, director of infrastructure services for global technology services of IBM Asia-Pacific.

According to IBM’s CIO Leadership survey, CIOs see “promoting collaboration between IT and the business” as top priority and viewed collaboration with external partners as opportunity for innovative thinking and competitive advantage.

To enable this, CIOs must provide capabilities that facilitate integration and collaboration, including a shared, centralized IT infrastructure and services.

“CIOs need to eliminate the barriers that limit their companies’ agility and responsiveness to change. They can play a pivotal role in providing the infrastructure to improve workforce effectiveness and create an integrated finance operation,” said Cotter.

The surveys also noted that infrastructure that encourages collaboration among the workforce should be developed. Chief financial officers also echoed this requirement, saying technology is crucial in deploying simpler, more collaborative network of financial units.

In the 2007 CIO Leadership survey, it was found that IT-based innovations can increase net profit margins from an average of 9.4 percent to 13 percent, IBM said.

This new role paves way for challenges that CIOs must face, Cotter said.

The executive said CIOs must understand technology and finances, while learning to communicate in business terms. They also need to create means to enhance their strategic role and career.

To meet these challenges, CIOs have identified the need to develop high-potential IT staff as top priority, according to the CIO Leadership survey. About 78 percent of the survey respondents ranked this need as “above average priority,” with 31 percent saying it as one of their highest priorities.

To manage IT budgets in deploying IT-enabled strategies, Seah said IBM can help companies by proving services to cut operational costs, leverage existing infrastructure, increase lean staff productivity and help with financing.

To cut costs and use existing infrastructure, for instance, Seah said IBM has been services for data center energy efficient assessment, server virtualization and consolidation, network optimization, storage optimization and information protection services.

IBM has an existing Global Financing program that offers capital to organizations to support technology investment based on their needs.


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