The Talent Challenge

The Talent Challenge

It is increasingly evident that the organizational role that the chief information officer is called upon to assume is evolving and changing. In part, this is due to advances in technology such as Web services, new business strategies such as e-business models and outsourcing, and environmental demands such as Sarbanes-Oxley. Likewise, the attributes that IT executives need in order to effectively provide strategic leadership, govern, and manage the IT function are also evolving and changing. Some of these attributes are important for IT leaders in all types of organizational settings, while others vary by context, such as the nature of the industry or the size of the IT organization. This study is predicated on the assumption that firms should be seeking to proactively develop the attributes they need in their CIO candidates. Research argues that firms would almost always be better off grooming their CIOs internally. Because of shortfalls in internal CIO development, many firms are forced to hire CIOs from other firms or other industries, potentially undermining or delaying fulfillment of their IT vision. Unfortunately, there is some concern that the pool of IT leadership in the profession as a whole may not be increasing at a rate that is consistent with the demand.

Many forces are driving up the demand for CIOs. Pure economic growth pushes up the number of executives that are needed. In addition, several Fortune 500 firms that have traditionally had CIOs at the enterprise level now want CIOs at the strategic business unit, as well. Or, firms that were satisfied to have CIOs only at the division level want an enterprise CIO too, to coordinate standards and governance. Even firms that outsource large portions of their IT retain an executive function. At some firms, particularly among firms under $1 billion in sales, first CIOs are being appointed. Finally, there is increased demand for individuals with CIO-like capabilities among IT service vendors, where business is growing very rapidly, as well as within non-IT functions like supply chain, shared services, or various IT-enabled operations.

See Also: How to Get--and Keep--Top IT Talent

This article was originally published on 03-12-2007
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