For years, CIOs have ranked the importance of aligning IT with the business as their top strategic goal. And while business alignment hasn't necessarily diminished in importance, many forward-thinking IT leaders are pushing the ball forward.
For instance, according to a new study by Yankee Group, 82 percent of 100 CIOs and CTOs from companies with 500 to 10,000 employees ranked improving customer experience as their top strategic priority.
With The 83rd Annual Academy Awards just behind us, many of the Best Picture nominees are still fresh in our minds.
In contemplating the winner of the Best Picture category - The King's Speech - it led me to consider the key leadership lessons that CXOs and other decision-makers can draw from King George VI, the famed leader portrayed by actor Colin Firth who guided Britain through the dark days of World War II.
One of the most important traits in great leaders is the ability to communicate effectively and clearly, regardless of who your audience is. This includes having a knack for delivering impactful presentations, whether that's on a stage in front of several hundred people, in a board meeting or to a group of staffers. It's a particularly important requirement for CIOs who often have to speak to a diverse set of audiences.
Let's face it, some people simply have a gift for public speaking. There are certain presenters who dazzle, others who stimulate or provoke and still others who move us with their stories and experiences.
But for most of us, public speaking is stressful. We worry about making mistakes, or not being able to engage our audiences or to provide listeners with meaningful content or messages.
According to the U.S. Labor Department, the productivity of U.S. workers surged in the fourth quarter at a 2.6 percent annual rate, far surpassing projections of a 2 percent rise by a survey of economists conducted by Bloomberg. Meanwhile, labor costs fell for the fifth time in six quarters. In short, when the economy produces more goods and services with effectively the same size workforce, productivity goes up.
Although some economists expect productivity to slow during the year as the economy continues to expand and companies hire more workers to increase output, the short-term prognosis isn't terribly encouraging, at least for some job seekers. In fact, the startling rise in productivity could also backfire for some CIOs and IT staffs, at least in the near-term.
We all know that it is not easy being a CIO-much is expected and failure, when it happens, is so visible. Today's CIO is expected to have a firm grasp of business strategy and direction, stay on top of a rapidly changing technology landscape, facilitate innovation and manage the IT department cost effectively. All that is asked and yet the CIO in more recent years has had a hard time getting and keeping a seat at the executive table.
Since 2007 Booz & Company has been conducting a periodic study--IT Org DNA Profiler --to help understand what drives successful IT organizations. The recent study shows that two factors-a CIO's business mandate and position in the company-can "have a significant influence" over less controllable factors and, therefore, is key to the success of the CIO and the IT organization.
Since Google co-founder Larry Page took the reins as CEO from Eric Schmidt on Jan. 20, there's been no shortage of speculation as to why the changes were made now, what this means for Schmidt's own future and what the changes portend for the world's leading search company.
One thing that is clear is that Page steps into the role at a time when Google is being pressed by shareholders to return to its innovative roots and suppress growing competition from companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Groupon.