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The position of the Chief Information Officer will probably never be more challenging than it is today, because we are witnessing the rebirth of an industry that never left infancy, and which also continues to evolve on a daily basis.

Just a few years ago they were the masters of the corporate domain. At the time, too little was known of information technology (IT) to dispute the claims and demands of the executives responsible for its proliferation, upkeep and advancement. Plus, the promise of greater profits produced by ever-increasing, computer-induced efficiencies gave continual rise to an unending string of investments and unchallenged budgets.

Unfortunately for most CIOs and their staff, those days are gone and unlikely to re-emerge. Software technology is now a part of everyday business life in the post-recession era. Technophobia is generally an element of the past and computer hardware and software systems are easier to install, maintain and learn. The amazement has vanished, with many institutions no longer viewing IT as a panacea, but a necessary expenditure like building repairs, office supplies and other administrative tasks.

Consequently, CIOs no longer wield the power they once possessed. Budgets are tighter. Results and operations are more intently scrutinized. Objectives have been changed from revenue generation to cost reduction and every budgetary dollar and staff member must be continually legitimized.

For many CIOs, the recession accompanied a crash course in business practices and maneuverability, as well as a wave of skepticism that enveloped the usefulness and benefits of technology in general. Unfortunately, over the past few years a great deal of investor money was wasted on technologies that either didn’t produce the promised results or never materialized at all. There are few that weren’t affected by NASDAQ’s decline and the dotcom marketplace meltdown.

To overcome this new stigma, CIOs must now join with their staff to better sell and promote the benefits provided by their services. This is the only way to successfully navigate the current business landscape within their own corporation, impress colleagues and, most importantly, obtain an ongoing flow of budgetary dollars. Here are some ways to help:

The CIO must understand the impact of the stock price on his daily business activities. There is an inherent disconnect between IT and financial objectives at a public company. As a result, the success of most large corporations is gauged daily by the rise or fall of the stock price. Like it or not, this is the way it is, which is not beneficial to CIOs and the efforts of their staffs since much of their work is behind the scenes and many new projects can take months, if not years, to reap any form of benefit. Unfortunately, this is a business reality that oftentimes conflicts with quarterly financial statements and the watchful eyes of shareholders and analysts alike.


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