An interesting post, Is a take on the now age old discussion of what is the role/value of IT in business and by extension the CIO's? Initial the industry viewed IT as an enabler, a utility for the business like most other amenities in this world, including buildings etc. But that view has since changed or should be changed, IT is required to add value to the business, to be a platform on which the business can restructure itself to meet the ever changing business needs, if not contribute directly to the revenue of the company.
IT shouldn't be looked at as only the unit that makes sure your email box is working or that you are able to connect to the Internet when you get into office.Of course these are also and continue to be responsibilities of the IT Department and CIO, but their focus is/should be on putting in place a business platform on which the business can run, reshape, merge, acquire, expand and still deliver result cost efficiently to customers. Thereby allowing the IT team to work with the CEO to make changes to the business model, acquire organizations and continue running operations across the globe all in a reasonable timeframe which will help keep the organization competitive.
The discussion also takes me back to an old presentation made by Shai (Ex-SAP), where he mentioned that the CIO's role is going to be broken into two the Chief Process officer and the Chief Innovation Officer. It was along the similar lines that I wrote another post that the CEO/CIO are going to be replaced by CCO & COO (Chief Coupling / Orchestration Officer). These posts only go on to indicate that though on the one side the keeping the lights on or having the network running or having exchange running might not require a "C" level officer, but on the other side a CIO's role has significantly increased in importance as he is the one who is responsible to put a platform in place to make sure that the company can "quickly" change its direction or business's or enter a new market or integrate another company.
In summary, Chris I think is seriously missing the point that when he says "The consequence of this is that many CIO's are now just one step above Building Maintenance." But his statement probably reflect the fact that there are CIO's out there who still think of their role – 10yrs in the past when it was a significant challenge just to make sure the "lights are on – network is running etc". But a lot of CIO's have and most will soon enough realize that "lights on" is only a small part of their job, they have to use the very infrastructure they have put in place and build / buy /put together on top of it a platform on which the future of the company can be built,rebuilt,innovated & re-innovated. Its no longer about IT infrastructure its all about the BUSINESS PLATFORM.