CIOs must put the customer first

2014 has to be the year of the customer, or else CIOs will soon become extinct, warns Mark Samuels.

You can still find new articles that refer to the need for CIOs to engage with the business. It has been a topic of debate for years, so you'd think industry commentators might have found something else to talk about by now.

Modern businesses, in case you've missed the digital revolution, run on IT.

The lack on insight around the CIO and business integration issue is both surprising and concerning for a number of reasons. First, and perhaps most obviously, the CIO is already and always has been part of the business.

Viewing the IT department as external to the rest of the organisation helps explain why technology teams develop an inferiority complex. There is no need for such inferiority. Modern businesses, in case you've missed the digital revolution, run on IT.

Second, IT leaders have much bigger fish to fry than their integration with the rest of the business, not least concerns about the relevance of their own position in an increasingly fractious pool of executive sharks.

The digital revolution means all senior executives have a view on technology. Employees, meanwhile, bring their own devices to work. In short, everyone across the business now owns what was once the preserve of the IT department.

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