How can CIOs transform the perception of IT from a cost center to a value generator?

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SVP & CIO, 501 - 1,000 employees
I think many times you fail in what you're trying to accomplish if you lead with technology. I see CIO's as business executives. We use technology as one of the tools to help us drive outcomes. But I like to start with, what outcome are we trying to achieve? How do we measure the business result? Let's start there. What problem are you trying to solve? And then we can start working back from there and start to understand how much of this is a process problem versus a data problem or a technology problem. You've got to look at everything together.

You don't use technology just for the sake of technology, there's got to be some purpose to it. There's got to be some business outcome for it. Any CIO that's aspiring to get to that level and asking, “how should I approach my engagement with the business?” needs to remember that If you talk in bits and bites and a bunch of technology speak, you're going to lose interest and you're going to lose the credibility that you probably could have if you would just change the conversation.  There're a lot of CIOs out there now that are starting to get a lot more business savvy and they're starting to talk in business terms. They're talking about “How do you want to drive revenue? How do we want to drive retention? What is the business outcome you want to get to?” and then we'll work from there.
CIO in Energy and Utilities, 11 - 50 employees
A very effective and objective way is by documenting all initiatives as business cases, monetizing all benefits as a result  of a project or the savings obtained by comparing the cost of operations before and after an implementation.
Also include quality and opportunity in the cases.
That will be very useful for you to correct or make adjustments as needed.

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CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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