Insights from the INSIGHT CIO Forum

    Last week I had the opportunity to attend the CIO Forum held in conjunction with the Insight 2009 Annual Conference in Orlando, FL.  While being held adjacent to Disney’s theme park, the theme of this event was appropriately titled “Vision Voice Value”.


    I spent two days discussing best practices, sharing lessons learned from Intel IT and comparing notes and strategies with leading CIOs, IT Directors, Managers and Administrators in the Health Care profession.  Our focus? ways to deliver and articulate the business value of IT. I had the opportunity to:


    • participate in a roundtable discussion of ~15 Health Care CIOs titled “The value of IT in improving financial performance
    • present to 50-60 CIOs on the business value of server refresh
    • present to 20-30 IT Directors and Administrators on using the Xeon ROI tool as a way to justify server investment


    One of the most thought provoking questions at the CIO roundtable that has stuck with me is … “How does your CEO (or your business customers) view IT?”  … as a cost center (necessary evil) or as a value center (strategic enabler).  While no one directly answered this rhetorical question, it was clear that our collective mission is to migrate IT from cost center to value center.  This migration will not be immediate.  It happens over time.


    To enable this transformation from cost center to value center, we concluded that the accountability remains with IT, as IT professionals and CIOs must individually and collectively demonstrate business value through our investments and establish are relationship of IT predictability, trust and credibility with our business partners.   These are core themes I have seen very visibly inside Intel IT as I began my journey to the center of IT a few short months ago.


    My second observation from this event reinforces some personal experiences I have had working with many other IT professionals in the past several months.  With the global recession and it’s impacts to capital funding, the need to justify IT investment is greater than ever – and the competition internally for capital $ is very high.  We may never go back to the way it was.  We have seen this inside Intel IT’ organization as well and as a result, created at server refresh savings estimator tool to share what we learned in justifying our investment a proactive server refresh strategy in 2007 and staying committed to that investment in 2009.


    I demonstrated the server refresh savings estimator tool at the event to both the CIOs and IT Directors / Administrators and the feedback was very positive (“session was well worth my time”).   Prior to the event, I also had the opportunity to work with Deborah Gash (CIO for Saint Luke’s Health Services) and her staff.  Debe provided a glowing endorsement of the tool (Thanks Debe !!) after demonstrating the business value from a project already completed and the in intent to use it for several future projects. I invite you to learn more about why we created this tool and how to use it.  If you have a question or want to give us feedback on how to enhance it – just let me know with a comment on this blog.


    My final thought comes from a blog written by Don Sears at eweek.  Don discusses about the need for IT to be right, accurate, credible and trustworthy is so important whether you are working inside IT or with IT.  Credibility and Trust is something that is hard to gain and easy to lose … so it is easy to understand why being right is key to working with IT.  Getting it wrong can have huge consequences.


    Join us at IT@Intel and share your insights on our shared journey to transform IT from a cost center to a value center for business.  I look forward to hearing from you.


    Thanks, Chris

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