John O. Boochever, Thomas Park, and James C. Weinb

It’s important for the CEO to view the parts of the CIO’s organization devoted to providing infrastructure services (e.g., company networking, systems management) differently than other “business-facing” departments. The former are not strategic activities – frankly, they’re more akin to utilities than core businesses – and it’s unfair to judge them on the basis of return on investment. They’re requirements and costs of doing business. By failing to separate IT service from IT strategy – and comprehend that the CIO is ultimately responsible for both – CEOs often grow frustrated with their chief technologists, confused as to whether they should be asked to provide merely utility or something much more critical than that. The answer is, CIOs need to manage both, and for the relationship between CEOs and CIOs to work, that unique dynamic has to be understood.

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