Do the priorities of the CEO match those of the CIO – or vice versa?

Armed with a keen understanding of a CIOs’ priorities, BillingViews set out to discover whether these in any way matched those of a CEO. With a certain element of surprise we found that they did.

Searching through sources such as the Harvard Business Review, global surveys by PwC, Forbes and even CNBC, a fairly consistent vision emerged. Interestingly, it mattered not a jot which industry the CEO came from as to what their priorities were.

Across the board (sic) the two main pillars seem to be customer service – or ‘serving the customer’  – and making the right technology choices in order to pursue that goal (whither Kodak?). There is also consensus that the CEO’s role is harnessing technology and people to create – and then maintain – the most efficient engine to achieve those goals.

Although the BillingViews’ broadband would not allow us to view the actual clip, in one interview with CNBC, the CEO of Vodafone, Vittorio Colao said that “If other opportunities arise to create a bigger—I would say the Unilever of telecom—a big company that has fixed mobile and possibly entertainment and enterprise services, then of course we’ll go after them.” He was speaking as the news of the Ono purchase went public in February.

Let us hope that, as the big players get bigger, when he says ‘Unilever’ he actually means a company that is universal and universally known for providing quality products – household ones at that. As we have said before, though, the table stakes here are reliable, universal connectivity. And as we have also said before, investing $36 billion – or any amount – in better data networks is meaningless if you cannot make, or keep, a phone call on any train in the UK. Perhaps before Mr Colao goes shopping he might invest in good old fashioned coverage.

Innovation, presumably, will come from the smaller players.

To support the evidence that CEOs are thinking the same across industries, the figure below, courtesy of the PwC survey shows that, in the US at least, investment is going into business analytics; socially enabled business processes; mobile customer engagement and cyber security. One might say ‘happy days for the communications industry,’ were it not for the fact that CEOs also know that their competitors are companies that are small – now – or have agile, start up business mentalities. Big companies, like ships, can be torpedoed and are the most enticing targets.


While the goals of the CIO and the CEO seem to aligned, it seems this might be a happy accident. Both Hard Business Review and Forbes has discovered that most of the employees of large, public businesses do not know what the business strategy is. In the HBR study in Australia they noted that although only 29 percent of employees knew what the strategy was – even given six choices, the companies were all high flyers.

So, scary as that might seem, perhaps it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the biggest challenge for a CMO – according to a recent IQPC study – is working with the CIO!

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About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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