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IT Leadership Awards move beyond business process improvement

Our IT Leadership Awards look for innovative ideas in business process improvement that answer unspoken organizational needs.

One of my favorite quotes from Henry Ford is, "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." CIOs traditionally solve problems for the business, but according to Gartner Fellow and Vice President Dave Aron, CIOs will need to step up their game in the coming years and provide business process improvements that don't respond to what the business is asking for, but instead make CEOs wonder how they ever got along without their CIO's innovations.

Wendy SchuchartWendy Schuchart

"In our yearly CIO surveys, business process improvement dropped from the No. 1 priority in 2008, 2009 and 2010, to No. 5 in 2011 and to No. 13 in 2012," said Aron during his presentation at the Gartner Symposium ITXpo in Orlando, Fla. last week. "Although methodological changes have exaggerated this drop, the downward direction in the importance of business process management to CIOs is a telling trend."

This statistic should be alarming. It really comes down to a reimagining of business process improvement. The traditional methods of looking at the business involve fixing what's already there -- aka, Henry Ford's faster horse. CIOs must not think "improve upon," but instead "build something else entirely." It's a bold move that requires some level of courage and brash selling skills, but with the right CIO, it's absolutely doable.

IT Leadership Award nominations: Deadline extended to Nov. 9

More on business process management

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As I've been reading through the nominations for our and 2013 IT Leadership Awards, I'm struck by the notion that CIOs and IT leaders are truly innovating, rather than getting mired in the concept of business process improvement. We're reading about groundbreaking green initiatives, amazing telephony solutions and a slew of creative and innovative culture-builders. Like last year's leadership awards, I can already tell this is going to be a tough one to judge, but I have absolute confidence in our judging panel of Harvey Koeppel, Scott Lowe, Niel Nickolaisen, Dean Lane, Richard Soley and our reigning IT Leader of the Year, Mauricio Vicente.

We're on such a roll with the nominations that we've decided to let the nomination period go into overtime. The deadline for theIT Leadership Awards has been extended to Nov. 9 at 11:59 pm PST. It's time to show off your skills and rise to the challenge. You could win an Apple iPad, an engraved trophy and cash honorariums. You'll also have a guaranteed invitation to our exclusive VIP networking events around the country, like our December SearchCIO360 dinner in San Jose, Calif., hosted by IT Leadership Awards judge Dean Lane.

Check out last year's leaders in the video posted to the right. Like Henry Ford, CIOs and IT leaders are finding exhilarating ways to turn business process improvement into the creation of new, innovative ideas, focusing on what is truly exceptional instead of just delivering the faster horse.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Wendy Schuchart, site editor.For midmarket IT news and updates throughout the week, follow us on Twitter @ciomidmarket.

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What's the hold-up with business process improvement?