A CIO rarely becomes a CIO because of a passion for budgeting and cost accounting.
Big, ambitious digital projects are more exciting, and maintaining a safe and secure technical foundation for the business seems like the biggest necessity. A CIO who invests in cost transparency might even feel he is providing the knife that the CFO will cut him with.
Yet precisely understanding costs, tracing them to business requirements, and building trust with other members of the executive team is being recognized as a necessity by top-performing tech teams. At the TBM Conference in Miami Beach, HP CIO Ramon Baez said there is a simple reason for learning the discipline of Technology Business Management. His message to the CIO who is not willing to provide that transparency: "Don't worry, if you don't do it, your successor will."
This quip from a keynote speech is one I heard repeated verbatim and in dozens of conversations throughout this recent event, which attracted a blue-chip list of companies including Goldman Sachs, Kaiser Permanente, Coca-Cola, Dupont, Ebay, and Time Warner. IT leaders, finance leaders, and those who bridge the two worlds talked about using IT cost transparency to build trust that makes room for innovations, to better execute the merger or separation of systems as part of mergers and acquisitions, and to eliminate waste in IT operations.
David F. Carr oversees InformationWeek's coverage of government and healthcare IT. He previously led coverage of social business and education technologies and continues to contribute in those areas. He is the editor of Social Collaboration for Dummies (Wiley, Oct. 2013) and ... View Full Bio