Positioning IT as a Strategic Partner on Campus

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Though institutions of higher education are increasingly looking for technological solutions to strategic challenges, downgrades in the rank of the chief information officer at institutions such as MIT and the University of Chicago raise questions about the CIO's role in university leadership. While there isn't any conclusive data to suggest that the CIO role is shrinking, concerns voiced over that possibility do serve to direct increased attention to one of IT's pressing challenges: that is, how to position the CIO, and the broader IT organization, as a strategic partner within the institution.

We turned to Gene Spencer, principal of Gene Spencer Consulting and a lead thinker on IT management, for practical advice on how chief information officers can grow, rather than shrink, their role.

Missed Opportunities

"Running an IT organization is about relationships first, then technology."
Gene Spencer, Gene Spencer Consulting

Spencer suggests that CIOs who see their role shrinking may need to first look at their own approach to key interactions with partners across the institution. Common mistakes that a CIO can make which actually reduce his or her ability to engage with key decision-makers (and be seen as a strategic partner) include:

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