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The Transformational CIO: Leadership and Innovation Strategies for IT Executives in a Rapidly Changing World by Hunter Muller

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Transitioning from Operational to Strategic

Shortly after speaking with Pat, I had a great conversation with Diana Melick. Diana is the former CIO of Siemens Energy and Automation, a $4 billion business unit within Siemens AG, the global giant in electronics and electrical engineering. Now she is a business leader with full P&L responsibility at Siemens IT Solutions & Services. Her combination of technology and business experience gives her a unique perspective on the future state of the CIO.

I asked her if CIOs had developed a rule of thumb to determine the right amounts of time to spend on operations and strategy. Here's what she told me:

You have to be operational. That's an important part of the job. No matter how you look at it, you will probably spend a quarter of your time making sure that your projects are moving ahead, that your environments are up and running, that the business is getting what it needs. Operations is a critical element, and there's no getting around it.

But then you have to carve out a larger portion of your time to spend with the business. You need to work on strategy and planning. They're also critical. You can't ignore them.

I don't have a great answer in terms of an exact percentage, but you can't be spending a large amount of your time on operations. It's got to be 25 percent, or less. If you're spending 40 percent of your time on operations, you're not going to be around very long.

There used to be a lot of CIOs who spent most of their career just ...

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