What Does Your CFO want from IT (CIO)?

Every year, the Intel IT team hosts an internal Global IT Leaders Conference to discuss our strategy to better align our activities, initiatives and goals to better support Intel's business.

This year's event was attended by about 300 of Intel's global senior IT leadership team.  While this conference took place in January 2011 and I'm behind in sharing my insights like I did last year - 2010 Intel IT Leaders Conference - I figure, better late than never.

One of the most interesting presentations I attended was a QnA session with Intel's CFO, Stacy Smith.  I had the chance to ask him what he wanted and

expected from IT - trying to extract his view on the role of IT.

Stacy summarized his viewpoint in a single statement that has stuck with me for the last three months.

"The Most Important is the Least Sexy"

Stacy elaborated four key points behind this statement (my summary - not his exact words) articulating some critical roles of IT at Intel:

1) Keep the Business Running (IT continuity and reliability) - Intel ships 1M units per day to our customers and Intel's factory and supply

chain is dependent on the IT organization and our solutions - even the smallest hiccup in IT continuity can have an immediate and direct

impact to Intels business.

2) Protect Intel's IP (IT and Enterprise Security) - Our business success is becoming increasingly dependent on our ability to collaborate

with our design partners and customers.  To do this we must be able to protect the IP of all companies in both directions during the B2B

exchange. It is a critical imperative that we enable the collaboration in a secure way, minimizing risks.

3) Influence Product Definition (add business value outside of IT) - As the IT organization inside Intel, our business leaders want our opinions on how we use technologies to extract business value and want our insights into the requirements for future products and technology on Intel's roadmap.

And given the emerging trends around IT consumerization  the insights from Intel IT are not only important for enterprise oriented products

but also the experiences employees will have running an expanded set of solutions and services on employee owned devices also.

4) Create Value Through Acquisitions (IT facilitated business growth) - Acquisitions is an important way that corporations grow, develop

new competitive capabilities and create shareholder value. Stacy articulated a strategic need for Intel IT to create (vs destroy) value through successful integration of new resources, capabilities and employees -  not only in IT solution integration but also in helping retain and integrate the cultural aspects of the way people work and innovate.

As I have talked with my peers in the past several years, we often discuss the fact that the majority of a large portion  of IT's annual budget (typically 60-70%) is spent on "run" or "mandatory" investments vs aiming these investments at business "growth" or "transform".  Stacy's insights this year have given me a new appreciation for the value and importance of KTBR. Thanks Stacy.

I leave you with a single question: What does your CFO want from your IT organiziation?

If you don't know - I highly recommend asking ... and be sure to share your insights below.

Chris Peters, Intel IT