ITXPO - Gartner: IT execs need to talk more business

Gartner says IT needs to get out of its technology shell and get into the heads of CEOs and COOs

It's not enough for CIOs and other IT managers just to do their jobs; they also have to be innovators driving the business of their companies, according to analysts at the Gartner Symposium/ITexpo that kicked off in Orlando Monday.

About 6,000 attendees are expected during the four-day conference for senior IT and business professionals. The majority of the event centers on the 250 presentations made by Gartner analysts, but there are 150 vendors exhibiting.

Gartner Vice President Ken McGee, and Dale Kutnick, senior vice president and director of research, discussed the future direction of IT during their Monday session. One key point made was that IT needs to get out of its technology shell and get into the heads of CEOs and COOs.

"One of the basic skills still missing" from most IT resumes is the ability to talk business, Kutnick says. IP professionals need to be able to "persuade business folks on why they should fund certain projects. It's a huge development that will occur in the next few years."

Kutnick goes on to say that if you can't understand and explain the benefits of a sourcing strategy, you will be at a disadvantage going forward.

With slower growth in the majority of IT sectors (telecom excepted), McGee says IT managers have to look at their jobs differently.

McGee points out there are economic challenges in western Europe, with growth there slightly more than 2 percent. There is active growth in India, Brazil and China; and closer to home there is mild growth, about 3 percent. Experts say we're beginning to see signs that the growth rate will slow down, McGee says.

The analysts say that doing more with less is not new for technology departments, but CIOs and other technology executives need to know that simply optimizing their company's data network and keeping those networks secure will not result in job security.

"We're seeing CIOs removed by CEOs because the CIO didn't get the message, we're into growth," Kutnick says. "It's nice you did your job. We expect you to improve infrastructure and operations every year."

"It's much more important in an era of tough growth to have all hands on deck on how to move business forward," he says.

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