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The Strategic CIO by Philip Weinzimer

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477
Afterword
Having spent 30+ years in the information technology (IT) indus-
try from developing operating systems to full-scale enterprise appli-
cations; from founding and running start-ups, managing full blown
enterprise IT departments as well as IT services providers; from
mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and PC to the world
of ubiquitous cloud computing; as well as being a buyer and seller of
IT products, services, and companies, I have seen a lot of change. But
none of that approaches the dramatic changes and speed that is taking
place as I write this. ese changes are having a tremendous impact
on the role of the chief information ocer (CIO).
For the last 4years, the innovation group at Dell has been research-
ing the changes taking place in corporate IT. While the research
identied the usual suspect about what is happening—bring your own
device (BYOD), software as a service (SaaS), IT outsourcing (ITO),
and the rest of the alphabet soup—it became clear that forces outside
of IT were forcing changes upon IT: what IT is, how it is delivered,
and how it is used, rather than just new technologies refreshing how
IT was delivered as we have experienced in the past. e realization
had us join forces with Forbes, HBR, and the Economist for a series
of research projects, addressing over 800+ enterprises across the globe,
not just on IT, but the business it supports and ITs relationship with
senior management—roles, expectations, performance, and the future.
478
aFterword
Via this research, I have studied these changes and the forces driv-
ing them, and written about them extensively, and I can tell you, rst
hand, that C-suite executives do not fully understand the power of
leveraging information and technology to improve the competitive
advantage for their company. is chasm provides the CIO with a
perfect opportunity to lead the C-suite in leveraging information and
technologies in innovative ways to create new value that drives rev-
enue, creates satised customers, and enhances shareholder wealth.
e operative question is: Are CIOs ready for this challenge?
ere are two parts to answering this question—the rst is how
the CIO can gain the trust and respect of the C-suite as a contributor
to the overall success of the enterprise, today and in the future. e
second and the most pressing challenge for the CIO is how to reposi-
tion the IT organization from a techno-centric to a strategic enabler
of business success. e Strategic CIO is a how-to formula for CIOs to
follow if they want to achieve both of these goals.
e objective of an afterword is to provide you, the reader, with
a summary of the book, identifying the major takeaways, including
case studies, and how it will help you succeed in your business role.
I will do this. Keep in mind that this is as much a leadership challenge
as a technology or management challenge. Let me share a little his-
torical perspective to set the stage for the challenges CIOs face today.
When people look into the history for examples of leadership, the
usual names are brought up—Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, etc.—
the list is long. For me though, it is a reluctant leader who resonates
most—Xenophon.
Xenophon was a young scholar (student of Socrates) who on a lark
went o to war and unexpectedly found himself in command of the
recently defeated remnants of an army of Greek mercenaries, primar-
ily Spartans, trapped in the middle of the Persian Empire, surrounded
by a signicantly (100 times) larger Persian army. He was faced with
the challenge to organize these soldiers, motivate them, and get them
back to Greece alive. His problem was further complicated by the fact
he was an Athenian (Sparta and Athens weren’t exactly best buds at
this point in time); Greek mercenaries had a tradition of democratic
principles of command (conducting assemblies to express their opin-
ions and to vote on how things should be done), generally reected
the levels of agreement found among the city states from which they

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