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CIOs turn mediators between business and IT

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, January 5, 2012
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Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are gaining importance for their ability to transform data into insights to help manage a company, which consists of the processes, applications, and practices that support executive decision making, suggests a McKinsey research.

It is a challenging mission because for all the data flowing through organizations, executives often struggle to find the information they need to make sound decisions. Potentially valuable content is frequently trapped in organizational silos, lost in transit from one system to another, bypassed by inadequately tuned data collection systems, or presented in user-unfriendly formats. Although wired with layers of information-gathering technology, organizations still find it difficult to deliver the right data to the right people.

At the heart of these difficulties are inadequate executive information systems, supposedly designed to help top management easily access pertinent internal and external data for managing a company. The research suggests that a set of common problems plagues these systems, which have existed for some time. Some forward-looking companies have therefore given CIOs a mandate to redesign them and to restore their importance in corporate decision making.

As the chief information officer, the CIO should play a more central role in designing next-generation executive information systems that can help a company's top managers extract value from the data that surrounds them.

Three major factors often hinder success. When information systems are dysfunctional, performance suffers. Different semantics and inconsistencies in the way information is structured from one unit to another hobble many executive information systems. Too often, disjointed communication between businesses and IT can lead to flaws in an executive information system's design.

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