It is very common to see CIOs reporting to COOs or CFOs. Of course there are advantages in doing so : less people directly reporting to the CEO, better alignment between support functions and IT, CEO able to focus more on business topics.

IT is core

The main drawback of this is that de facto, IT is not considered as core business. A previous post was trying to paint how IT is becoming embedded in the business. There is, since now many years, an increasing involvement of IT in building end user products. This cannot be achieved efficiently if IT is perceived only as a support and not as a strategic function.

CIOs reporting to COOs or CFOs do not get the same information and experience on PnL. They are less likely to be able to understand which are the popular products, the customer needs, and how IT innovation could make the difference. A CIO should understand and know company's strategy. He should even contribute to it bridging together business and technology.
Understanding the business strategy, the CIO is then able to align his organization to this goal.

Alignment is key

This means that the entire team and not only the CIO should work on the same target. This is helping to be more efficient as experience shows that an IT team with a defined goal is by far more efficient. This is also avoiding projects that are not fitting with the strategy making the portfolio of projects more efficient and also the improving the perception from other groups.
Having a portfolio with a lot of pure IT driven projects not linked to the comapny's strategy generates a poor impression...


CIOs, as well as the IT team, need to know and understand the business : who are the competitors, what are those competitors doing, what are the revenues per product, what are the trends from a customer perspective, short Know Your Business ! They also need to sell internally IT strength. Experience shows that when product guys are convinced that they can ask IT for innovation they tend to be more creative, not self restricting the scope of a new product

Indeed all of this is more difficult when CIOs are interacting with the company through the filter they get from their COO or CFO.

Traduction à venir prochainement ...