Three CIOs may be better than one

A firm that makes business alignment its business has three CIOs to help perfect its product. But is alignment an old-fashioned notion -- about to be replaced by outsourcing?

You're probably all-too-familiar with the need and the struggle for business and IT to be on the same page in terms

of goals.

Euclid Inc., of San Jose, Calif., makes a living selling software that helps align the two departments. Now the company is putting more "organic" ingredients into its product -- the "been there, done that" experience of CIOs past and present.

Euclid's CIO Advisory Board will help the company tweak and perfect its BizSmart alignment product as well as educate customers on the importance of IT alignment with business goals.

Initial members of the board include Gary Sutula, most recently CIO at R.R. Donnelley; Brian Kilcourse, former CIO of Longs Drug Stores; and Bob Doyle, former CIO at Alliant Foodservices Inc.

"[They] have more than 50 years of combined experience in IT management at executive levels. They understand first-hand the challenges of a Fortune 1000 CIO," said Euclid president and co-founder Sateesh Andra in a statement.

Euclid pointed to a survey of Fortune 500 CIOs to help validate its new advisory board. The company claimed that a majority of respondents to its survey are trying to bridge the gulf between business and IT with standards like Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecards and Cost of Poor Quality.

Most of the CIOs, Euclid said, agreed that success must be measured in business terms, with business partnerships, alignment, and better articulation of the business value of IT being their top priorities.

Kilcourse, currently a senior partner with BEK Consulting, said that most top IT executives these days understand that every single IT initiative must support business goals in a measurable way.

Tom Pohlmann, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., said he thinks Euclid's CIO board is a good idea that a number of other firms are already doing.

He also said IT shops that aren't aligned with their business units by now are destined to be outsourced.

"Actually, rather than alignment we'd like to see lines of business taking more ownership over setting IT priorities and direction -- not managing IT, but setting its direction," Pohlmann said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

White paper: The Alignment Effect: How to get real business value out of technology (Chapter 3)

Check out the business solutions center in our Product and Vendor section.

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