Monday, April 13, 2015

[ARTICLES CRITIQUES] Subject: Information and Leadership Development (MIM 730)

In a very basic form, Chief Information Officer (CIO), or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals. The title of Chief Information Officer in Higher Education may be the highest ranking technology executive although depending on the institution; alternative titles are used to represent this position. Generally, the CIO reports to the chief executive officer, chief operations officer or chief financial officer. In military organizations, they report to the commanding officer.
The CIO’s journey is not easy, with a reluctant CFO seeking evidence of prudence and continuous efficiency improvements, before considering new technology programs, which potentially represent a genuine promise. With the pressures of the market, all nature of corporate budgets come under pressure, but none more than “functions” considered as “support” to the core business. IT does fall within this band in a few industries. However, even in sectors which are rather more directly dependent on the use of technology today, there are unrelenting pressures of effective, efficient and competitive use of technology.

The objective of these articles critiques was to determine the quality in the management and leadership, the role of information in ensuring good leadership and strategy and to identify and explain the author’s idea and also highlighted my own opinions.
All of the articles are written in a straight forward way of writing with the adoption of simple IT terminology that targeted to intermediate range of readers, however basic knowledge of IT terms are required to ensure better understanding on the content of the articles. Authors also provide illustration and diagrams for better understanding and supported by various references from literature and books.

Author’s Summary and Reviewer Recommendations:
From the article of “Unlocking the Performance of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)” by Joe Peppard, it discussed about the role of the CIO and his or her competencies in IT world. The communication and influencing skills, commercial acumen, networking skills and people management skills are personal attribute that Chief Information Officer (CIO) should have.
Based on my understanding, the CIO must earn credibility by managing IT resources and operations effectively. If the CIO cannot efficiently deliver IT services and systems then their claim to membership is severely limited. The CIO’s contribution must extend beyond the IT function to demonstrate relevance to the company’s business activities. They must emphasize the value of information, people and IT as essential elements of the operating model.
From my review on the article “CIO and Business Executive Leadership Approaches to Establishing Company-Wide Information Orientation” by William J. Kettinger, Chen Zhang and Donald A. Marchand, it’s stated that to lead as the corporate information steward is a lofty goal and requires a close working relationship with business managers and employees to learn how information is embedded in business practices. CIOs will have to take more responsibility for leading the information cultural change necessary among general managers if companies are to achieve more acute information sensing and widespread sharing of valuable information. A strong information focus and extensive business knowledge will enable the CIO to identify opportunities where information management and use can help improve the company’s strategic focus and will help the CIO to become a strategic leader.
The article manage to highlight that the relationship between CIO and others employees. In my opinion a company’s CIO must work closely with HR to devise performance evaluation metrics including scorecards that rewards people for effective use and management of information. A strong information focus and extensive business knowledge will enable the CIO to identify opportunities where information management and use can help improve the company’s strategic focus and will help the CIO to become a strategic leader.
From my review on the second article titled “The Renaissance CIO Project: The Invisible Factors of Extraordinary Success” by James Moffat Spitze and Judith J. Lee. They have identified three “unique to their role” success factors in their Renaissance CIOs such as the CIO must be a life-long learner, able to build and motivate cross-functional teams and marshal the collective intelligence of an enterprise and able to conceive and implement a customer-focused game-changing project that impacts the enterprise’s end-customers in a major and enduring manner.
The article manages to highlight the special roles of CIO must have to be a successful CIO but from my point of view it does not discuss on how a CIO impact on the company’s mindset, actions and business. This can be done by positioning information and IT so that other team members view it as contributing to their business success.
From third article “The Relationship between Corporate Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management” by Bruce R. Barringer and Allen C. Bluedorn. The author stated that the argument the entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours are necessary for firms of all sizes to prosper and flourish in competitive environments. It also stated the five strategic management practices include: scanning intensity, planning flexibility, planning horizon, locus of planning, and control attributes.
As a result of these sentiments, a growing body of literature is evolving to help firms understand the organizational process that facilitate entrepreneurial behaviour.
In my opinion, corporate entrepreneurship would seem to depend both on the capabilities of operational level participants to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities and on the perception of corporate management that there is a need for entrepreneurship at the particular moment in its development.  From the perspective of top management, corporate entrepreneurship is not likely to be a regular concern, none an end in itself. Rather is it a kind of “insurance” against external disturbances or a “safety valve” for internal tensions resulting from pressures to create opportunities for growth.
While this study used statistical analysis in an attempt to control for contaminating influences, it lacks the external validity to generalize beyond the sample. This study’s design does support that a good leadership and strategy between CIO and the company, but it does not substantiate a cause-and-effect affiliation. It is recommended that this study be repeated using tighter control methods and a more representative sample, with more attention given to the pre-existing qualities of the subjects, as well as information on post-residential care living arrangements.

It also relies on the belief of senior managers that having a CIO as a business colleague is valuable and contributes to their business unit or company. However, the history of the CIO role in many companies is not pretty.
The CIO is the business executive charged with mapping IT initiatives to the goals of the organization. To accomplish this, a CIO must be a positive leader, an effective communicator (skilled in both listening and speaking), a persuasive negotiator, and a customer-orientated individual.
As per my understanding, the CIO has to master the balancing act between his operative and strategic tasks. Reality shows that every CIO wishes he could be the initiator of innovation to add business value and create competitive advantages, but in most cases is only dealing with daily business rushing from one task to another. To solve this problem he has to put more emphasis on his HR function to build a reliable team with the right competencies and eventually adopt an effective and efficient delegation to free the needed resources for a re-design.
It is not deniable, that the CIO is already executing strategic tasks as well, that add value. To turn these potentials into economic value the CIO has to become the CIO of the future. A great CIO can be clearly recognized by five distinct characteristics: the ability to provide clear direction, the ability to inspire, the ability to build successful teams, commitment, and finally, being accepted as the leader by the rest of the IT department.

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