It must be interesting to be the CIO of FedEx. All those packages, all those bar codes, all those planes flying around. In this interview with CIO Insight, Rob Carter tells how he became one of the nation’s top IT leaders and shares some wisdom from which every IT expert can benefit, especially when it comes to getting an organization’s business and tech sides on the same page. "What really needs to happen … is to put equal focus on understanding the business and helping the business understand the value of IT," Carter says.
A choice quote:
I tend to get on my staff when they say things to their business partners like, "You don’t need to come to that meeting – it’s just a technical briefing." The better you foster understanding across this gulf that has traditionally divided us, the better off you’ll appear as a business executive and the more value you’ll bring. Fundamentally, I’m waging a war to eliminate the gulf that exists between IT and the business. The reality is that this is business technology. It’s the marriage of the business and technology to create sustainable value, sustainable competitive differentiation, sustainable productivity advantages, sustainable organization and control that helps the business operate more effectively.
How often that gulf exists, and how urgent it is to bridge it. As Carter says:
Never be a victim. Never decide in advance, "This is what I’m going to be relegated to." If you’re going to be a top-flight business executive in any discipline, you have to assume that what you bring to the table is worthwhile and worth being part of a big-league team. If you want to play a behind-the-scenes role, that’s what you’ll find yourself doing. But you need to put on the mantle of authority that says these things are vitally important to productivity, customer interactions and the top line.
– Don Willmott