CIOs get sexy

February 12, 2009, 4:23 PM UTC
Fortune

There was a time when the geeks who keep a company’s tech systems running could get by without knowing the finer details of corporate strategy. You called the chief information officer when you needed a server upgrade, not a strategic plan.

Well, those days are over.

This downturn could mean the end of the sequestered CIO — that rumpled executive who, like Scotty on Star Trek, has limited social skills and usually emerges from the engine room only when something blows up. In these tough times, CEOs are frequently calling tech chiefs out of the wiring closet and into the boardroom, and putting their business skills to the test.

Why? Budget cuts, for starters. The IT department has to tighten its belt while at the same time helping other divisions use technology to slash costs. Some typical questions that cross a CIO’s desk: What if we did those sales meetings as videoconferences instead? Could we shut down the Detroit office and let those folks work from home with wireless laptops? You get the idea.(IBM)

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