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Can IT leaders play a more strategic role?Can IT leaders play a more strategic role?

Three or more decades after this issue was first raised, we are still debating whether CIOs are capable of ‘joining the top table’ of their organisation – and become a fully fledged board member.

Why is this? Surely, after all this time, it must indicate that senior technologists lack some appetite to join and direct the mainstream of their business. Fair enough, you might say. If an IT person wants to stick to what they do best, what does it matter?

But this ignores the fact that over the last 10-20 years especially, the world has become much more technologically focused. You can’t really function in society these days unless you are capable of electronic banking, programming the SatNav, setting the DVD, setting up your mobile phone and tablet (however ‘easy’ this is meant to be) and communicating via text, Facebook, Twitter or Skype.

Likewise in business, if the organisation’s IT leader has not already moved from the backroom to the boardroom, then they will be lagging behind the technology they manage – because the commercial world has shifted from being driven by monolith ERP systems supporting manufacturing minicomputers, LANs and connected desktop computers, to members of the Board becoming reliant on their iPads and smartphones to provide instant access to crucial ‘dashboard-style’ management input and information.

Even if CIOs and IT managers in general wanted to stick to their technology comfort zone, then that comfort zone has already extended itself into every area of their organisation, including the top table.

So perhaps the problem lies in the fact that while non-IT managers – the sales, production, finance and HR directors – have all been forced to adapt and learn technology, too many IT people have still not learned ‘business’? But clearly the gap between the two is getting narrower.

To help you make the leap to playing a more directive role in your organisation, our special report offers advice from business experts such as Ernst & Young, KPMG and PA Consulting (pages 8, 10 and 20). We also review how you can strategically approach today’s main technology issues and trends – big data, the IT skills shortage and mobile computing (pages 12, 22 and 24).

Of course, this guidance applies to all IT professionals in an enterprise, however junior...your colleagues ‘get’ technology, they have to because it is so core to their business and home lives. That means the door is wide open to you playing a more central role in driving your organisation.

Tim Ring
Editorial director
The National Computing Centre Ltd

Members can download a PDF of the whole issue by clicking on any article below and selecting the link at the bottom of the page.

Industry news – Spring 2013 - 14 Mar 2013

IT users pick BlackBerry 10s ... read more..

Opening up the C-level suite - 14 Mar 2013

CA's Colin Bannister investigates how CIOs can convince their C-level colleagues about the commercial importance of information technology. The role of technology within businesses has completely changed over the past five years. In fact, it has grown significantly just in the last 12 months thanks to an increasingly competitive market ... read more..

DNA of the CIO - 14 Mar 2013

Too many IT directors still lack the career development nous and focus on IT innovation required for them to earn a place at their business' top table, reports Ernst Young's Mark Brown. For many years, chief information officers (CIOs) have talked about becoming a true partner to their business and ... read more..

End of the empire for CIOs - 14 Mar 2013

Consumers are the new technology chiefs, says KPMG's Bryan Cruickshank, forcing CIOs and their teams to accept their empire-building days are over. I am not the first, and certainly won't be the last, in a long line of commentators to point out that the role of the chief information officer ... read more..

Getting real about big data - 14 Mar 2013

Big data is a clear and present priority for CIOs and IT leaders. But that is sometimes all that's clear about this hyped term, says Matin Jouzdani of IBM Global Business Services, as he details research into its real-world use. There is no doubt that big data has been one of ... read more..

Bandwidth battle behind Windows 8 - 14 Mar 2013

The launch of Windows 8 devices marks an exciting but challenging time for IT managers, as a flood of new tablets and phones liberate the business but present major bandwidth and backup issues for IT. Phil Evans of Datacastle reports. The double launch of Windows 8 and the new Microsoft Surface ... read more..

The tangled web we weave - 14 Mar 2013

A business' website is its main shop window, so why do so many organisations leave their hosting choices to chance, asks Raj Sukkersudha of Q3. A company's web presence today is no longer a nice-to-have; it is core to the organisation's brand, whether the site is used to sell products or ... read more..

At the centre – Spring 2013 - 13 Mar 2013

National Computing Centre offers assured consultants The National Computing Centre has unveiled a new scheme that helps members identify the right independent IT consultant to help with their projects. The 'Consultant Assure' service is free-of-charge to members, who pay only the standard consultancy fee charged by these firms. The National Computing Centre ... read more..

Shifting IT to a superior service - 13 Mar 2013

PA Consulting's Alan Young and Alisa Thompson look at the changing role of the CIO and IT department and find the pressure is on to re-create IT as a 'service experience'. Inside the world's companies and government departments, IT organisations have traditionally focused on delivering to internal customers. Meanwhile, in the ... read more..

Invasion of the body shoppers - 13 Mar 2013

If you're facing an IT skills shortage, Thomas Coles of MSM Software identifies an increasingly popular solution. A recent survey of over 2,000 IT leaders revealed that 42% of CIOs think a technology skills shortage will prevent their organisation from keeping up with the pace of change, and 73% are concerned ... read more..

Going mobile - 13 Mar 2013

The biggest innovation IT leaders need to grapple with this year is the introduction of BYOD and mobile technology. SAP chief innovation officer Adrian Simpson reports. It's fair to say that mobility is the IT megatrend of 2013. And with businesses across the UK and globally adopting a BYOD (bring your ... read more..

Take two aspirin and reboot - 13 Mar 2013

Tier-3's Piers Wilson finds useful parallels between the fields of IT security and medicine. The world of IT and cyber security shares some terminology with the medical world; we often talk of viruses, infections and outbreaks and we might quarantine a suspect email, for example. But in fact the parallels go much ... read more..

Cloud ROI: the reckoning - 13 Mar 2013

Marc Vael from ISACA cuts through the hype to provide a practical ROI framework that helps you calculate if cloud is right for your organisation. According to the hype, cloud computing makes it easy to offer IT users the same kind of self-service that people love when they turn on their ... read more..

Governance: finding the right path - 13 Mar 2013

Graham Oakes hacks away at the bureaucracy that can choke good IT decision making. What springs to mind when people mention IT governance? All too often, we think 'bureaucracy'. We've all seen the decisions queued up for discussion at some governance committee, the endless round of compliance checks, the audits. We've ... read more..

Diving into the storage pool - 13 Mar 2013

As users demand ever more data, IT teams have struggled to find the right memory solutions at the right price. Nexenta's Evan Powell points the way to hybrid storage pools. For the past decade, there has been a serious problem affecting storage systems, a problem which has become progressively more pronounced ... read more..

More Raspberry Pi please - 13 Mar 2013

What's going to happen to new technology during 2013? Tech evangelist Gary Cornell puts his reputation on the line. It's always fun to do a predictions column although readers should always keep in mind the old adage about how hard it is to make predictions, especially about the future. Anyway, I'll ... read more..



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