CIOs must put business needs first.

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Computing Canada IT processes must be centralized because this allows companies to control costs while still heeding suggestions from staff, executives said at a recent seminar on the evolving role of the CIO.

Although "it sounds somewhat draconian," admitted Dietmar Reiner, CIO of Ontario Power Generation Inc., this model, which permits only the CIO to establish IT policies and standards, works well at his company. Under a decentralized model, someone else within the company comes up with a technical solution to a problem and asks the IT department to implement it, Reiner said.

"But many times you've actually missed the mark because the business solution that was defined didn't fix the problem," he said. "IT can run away very quickly if there isn't a centralized control."

Produced by Compass Management Consultants and the IT Business Group, the EDGE breakfast seminar also examined the CIO's role in managing complexity, notably the alignment of infrastructure and infostructure.

On one side, IT infrastructure is being commoditized and manipulated by marketing issues; on the other, a company's infostructure, or information capital, may be used in decision-making based on inaccurate data or meeting regulations under PIPEDA or Sarbanes-Oxley, said Robert...

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