The New CIO Leader: Setting the Agenda and Delivering Results

Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis

Publisher: Harvard Business School Press, 2004

$35.00 hardcover

When the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decided in 2003 to implement the Do Not Call Registry to curtail the intrusion of telemarketers into American homes, one of the plan's chief architects was the FTC's CIO Stephen Warren. From the outset, Warren wasn't simply an implementer; he was an integral part of the team. "Warren's early participation was vital to the creation of a concept-to-implementation plan that delivered the new national registry in 90 days," writes Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis in The New CIO Leader.

Warren's role is emblematic of what Broadbent and Kitzis describe as the qualities of today's new CIO -- a multitalented individual who weaves together business strategy and technology capability. Others are moving in the same direction, becoming CIO leaders who can find opportunities for their organizations and position themselves -- and the organization -- to move to the next level of performance. But not all CIOs are moving in that direction, contend Broadbent and Kitzis.

They argue that two converging factors -- the ubiquitous presence of technology in organizations and the recent technology downturn -- have brought CIOs to a critical breaking point. They can seize the moment and leverage their expertise into a larger and more strategic role than ever before, or they can allow themselves to be relegated to the sideline function of "chief technology mechanic."

Broadbent and Kitzis, of course, champion the former path, outlining an agenda CIOs must follow to distinguish themselves as CIO leaders. Many of the strategies will be familiar to public-sector CIOs grappling with the same "breaking point" issues and fashioning new priorities and roles.

Drawing on extensive research conducted by Gartner (where both authors work), Broadbent and Kitzis focus on critical points for new CIO leadership, including the need to: lead, not manage; create a vision of how IT will build organizational success; shape and inform expectations for an IT-enabled enterprise; create clear and appropriate IT governance; weave business and IT strategy together; build a new, leaner information services organization; develop a high-performing staff; manage IT risks; and so on.

Although the book draws mostly on examples from the private sector, it does include some public-sector case studies, including the FTC. Given the high turnover that continues among public-sector CIOs today, this book should provide incoming IT chiefs with some valuable advice. The same goes for the rest of the CIO community still fighting in the trenches.

Tod Newcombe  |  Senior Editor

With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine.