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IT Governance

The CIO's job is changing yet again.

After editing this month's issue, it was clear that the CIO's job is changing yet again. First morphing from a technology position into more of a business role, it is now taking another a step toward that of the business analyst.

After listening to many CIOs discuss how they are managing their IT and staff in these difficult times, it seems that they all have one thing in common. They are focusing on what Jon Beyman, CIO, Lehman Brothers, calls "IT governance."

IT governance includes managing vendor relationships, renegotiating vendor contracts and analyzing new and existing IT projects. What it really means is that CIOs are rolling up their sleeves and getting more involved in each and every project. Whether it is a new project or one that has been in progress for months or years, you can be sure your CIO will be analyzing its importance, timeline and budget.

CIOs have already examined overall IT budgets, cut costs where they were able and, of course, eliminated staff. Now, they are reviewing projects, along with IT managers, much more frequently to ensure that money is being put to its best use, that the projects are on target, and that they are still valid.

Beyman says most of his energy these days is spent reviewing existing IT projects and making sure "projects are initiated for the right reason and the deliverable dates are hit." He explains that his job has changed in that it is more about execution than anything else.

Bob Sauvageau, CTO of American Century, agrees. He says his workforce is going to shift to become much more business-analyst focused. One very important skill that he and his staff will focus on is managing vendor relationships and renegotiating vendor contracts.

At Jefferies & Co, Steven Goldberg also discusses how he has cut costs by managing vendor services. By getting more involved, he has found ways to save money by managing log-ons of market-data users.

All of this is not just to cut costs, but to help the CIO develop an intimate knowledge of the projects being managed. It is also being done to avoid what Joseph Zucchero, EVP of the Casey Group, calls "the runaway project." The runaway project is a nightmare that every CIO wants to avoid. It can be devastating to an IT budget as well as a CIO's reputation.

No one wants a project "running away" on their watch. So sharpen your pencils and dust off your analytical skills because, once again, your job has changed.

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