Lisa Heneghan, global head of KPMG's CIO advisory practice, spends a large amount of time talking with non-IT board members and says executives recognise the power of technology. "They don't necessarily understand IT but they are keen to learn. That desire presents a great opportunity for CIOs," she says.
Research from KPMG and Harvey Nash suggests the board is looking for IT leaders who can use systems and services to boost business profitability. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of CIOs indicate projects that make money are a priority, compared to 37 percent who report the CEO is more interested in IT as a cost-saving tool.
CIOs who have been asked to keep costs down might find it unusual to take an upbeat approach to technology spending. However, Heneghan says an open mindset is likely to be rewarded. "The majority of IT leaders have traditionally adopted a defensive stance. CIOs must take an alternative approach," she says.
"They need to appreciate the context of fellow board members and actively debate how IT can help. In IT, we all talk about the importance of adopting an agile culture -- and that's a mentality you also need in the boardroom. As a modern CIO, you must be open to other viewpoints."