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On The Board or Just On Board

Thursday, 12 August 2010 11:10 Ayman Abouseif
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IT people are those who exploit technology to enable the business to become more efficient, more cost effective and better equipped to make informed decisions. CIO is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals. The CIO typically reports to the chief executive officer, chief operations officer or chief financial officer.

In 2007 a survey amongst CIOs by CIO magazine in the UK discovered that their top 10 concerns were: people leadership , managing budgets, business alignment, infrastructure refresh, security, compliance, resource management, managing expectations, managing change and last but not least board representation and politics.

There has always been a need to align IT initiatives and structures with business strategy and requirements, but there is growing recognition that this strategic need requires board-level representation. Traditionally board-level representation has come from finance, marketing and HR; no consideration was given to including representation from IT. This was largely down to the fact that IT started under finance essentially to deliver some reports (remember MIS) and keep systems running.

Today technology plays a very different role, it is no longer a side function that can be relegated and CIOs are more involved in business strategy and in running and sponsoring non IT initiatives while having to deliver more with less. Many CIOs are acting as agents of change and providing business leadership beyond technology.

A large part of a CIO's role includes making a contribution to corporate strategy. Information systems and technology have become such an integral part of the business world that more and more organizations are realizing the importance of their CIOs possessing the business management and leadership skills required to integrate the organization with the major components of an information system. CIOs also need to ensure that the value of IT is clearly visible to business managers across the organization, show how the new business intelligence environment is helping managers make faster and more informed decisions, how the new CRM is helping sales managers provide more accurate forecasts, and how the new self service expense management systems is saving everyone’s time.

So why do we still see many CIOs in the Middle East being excluded from board representation? Is it just a matter of time or there is more to it than that?


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Comments 

 
+1 #8 Bassam Alashqar 2010-11-24 09:59
Unfortunately , in middle east , in most of the cases , who you are is more important than what you do ; also , most enterprises are been run by one man show ; and mostly by old C-level who are hardly knows anything about IT ; I believe it still needs years till the role of IT & CIO is fully recognized ; just like the CFO role , it was an accounts book keeper ( 20 years back) to main decision maker nowadays ; in middle east , things are changeling but slower than in other areas ;
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+1 #7 Kasper Larsen 2010-11-24 09:05
I think there is a misunderstandin g about what a board is and should do.

Normal cooperate governance have an independent board of directors, who are not full time employes in the company to secure shareholder value and represent shareholder views to the management (company directors) - The company directors (CEO,CFO,CIO. .. The c's) are Them responsible for executing those instuctions.

So normally any C's should NOT be on The board of Directors!

But here in the middle east the companies are mostly familly run so the borders between board of directors and c's are very muddy.

But any C should be ABLE to attend parts of board meetings and be able to brief the Board on what is going on and what needs to be done down the line, and to ensure the Board have the full picture before making strategy descisions for the company.

So a CIO on the board of directors... No.. and neither should a CFO, CEO, CLO be.
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0 #6 A Thabit 2010-11-24 08:26
I think it is to do IT litracy with C level managers in an organization and based on type of busienss industry of that organization
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0 #5 Salma Adib 2010-11-22 06:54
No one is going to call the CIO and say please join us at the top table. CIOs have to earn that but showing business leadership and driving their initiatives.
The old style techie IT Manager (self proclaimed CIO) will never have a place at the top table.
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0 #4 Nasser Habib 2010-11-16 13:54
I think we as CIOs should not focus on promoting our success as a way to get to the top table, we should rather focus on promoting the value IT brings ot the organization, things like:
- Cost savings brought in by time savings, inventory management, etc..
- Enabling informed decisions
- Reduction in workforce due to increased efficiency
This is how we promote IT itself and inherently our work.
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0 #3 R Al Bolouchi 2010-11-14 07:43
IT projects are becoming overly complex, many of them are behind schedules, user expectations are sky rocketing and the cost of IT is going up.
This puts the CIO on the defensive most if not all the time making it difficult for the CIO to climb up to the top table.
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+1 #2 Louisa Fernandes 2010-10-27 20:33
As a community we should help each other become more prominent on each and every board.
We need to stop talking technology and start talking business, that is the first step.
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0 #1 Tamer El Sayed 2010-10-04 09:29
I'd say that given enough time in his/her leadership position, the CIO carries almost 70% of the responsibility of whether he or she is on the board or not.

A CIO that is close to the business, does not talk technology buzzwords, and delivers value .. should expect to be on the board and deserves no less than that.
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