Wharton, Gartner School CIOs

Recognizing IT's increasing stature as a key element to any business strategy, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) has partnered with technology consulting and market research firm Gartner (Stamford, CT) to launch a Chief Information Officer (CIO) as Full Business Partner program from Oct. 28 to Nov. 2.

Recent Gartner poll results showed that 50 percent of CIOs had other corporate duties, such as crafting company strategy, as opposed to 20 percent from three years ago. Up to 74 percent of CIOs reported either to CEOs, CFOs or COOs in 2006, up from 2003's 69 percent. These C-level interactions require skills and insight that extend beyond IT infrastructure:

“For years, CIOs have been told that they wouldn't have a job unless they transform from ‘chief technology mechanic' to business executives," said Thomas Gerrity, Wharton's Joseph J. Aresty Professor; Professor of Management; and academic director of the new program. “But many focus on cost containment at the expense of making important contributions to the CEO's vision for achieving business advantage through product innovation or new growth platforms.”

To that end, the program merges Wharton's strategic business insights with Gartner's IT research and advisory knowledge. The multidiscipline approach is geared to help CIOs understand how to help other corporate facets, such as marketing, finance and sales, succeed. The program should help CIOs understand how:
  • CEOs set investor expectations.
  • CFOs add long-term business value and assess return on investment capital.
  • Marketing and sales executives create unique customer value propositions to increase marketshare.
Participants will also develop a 100-day plan to deepen the course's impact, and the sessions will also offer opportunities for networking with CIOs from other industries.

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About the Author

David Kopf is a freelance technology writer and marketing consultant, and can be reached at david@dkcopy.com.

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