The situational CIO*

August 2010
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The situational CIO: IT problem solver, cost cutter, strategist

At a glance

During the recession, CIOs and other executives had to focus on tactical issues like efficiencies and cost cutting, rather than on developing new business strategies. Here, PwC explains how that may change and outlines ways the CIO can become more strategic while handling other responsibilities – an idea we call the “situational CIO”.

IT problem solver, cost cutter, strategist

The CIO job, as typically understood, is difficult enough. For many, expanding the role to include being a major contributor to business strategy is a pipe dream at best, a nightmare at worst.  And recently, many CIOs have been able to put these demands to the side during the recession, as most companies have asked CIOs and other executives to focus on the tactical— efficiencies and cost cutting—rather than developing new business strategies.

But PwC believes the pendulum is about to swing back to a demand for more strategic involvement by CIOs, without losing the tactical strengths favored recently.  So CIOs need to prepare for this shift. This paper explores what being strategic should mean and provides a framework for how the CIO can be more strategic in serving the business while handling other responsibilities the position demands. We call this the “situational CIO.”