Innovative CIOs Show How to Make Money With IT, Peter High featured in CIO article

November 30, 2012
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 A select few CIOs are generating cold hard cash through innovation and collaboration. We rounded up examples of CIOs who generate revenue with IT, either by boosting sales or developing a product or service sold externally.

by Diane Frank, published on


 Excerpt from the article:

Top-notch CIOs in various industries are creating new ways to pull in revenue at their companies. The techniques vary widely: Some use IT to boost showroom sales, or sell homegrown software to other companies. Others take the valuable data they produce in-house and turn it into a saleable information service.

These standout CIOs look beyond the company’s walls and are viewed as full peers by the rest of the C-suite. They are at the top of what Ballard and other members of the CIO Executive Council, a global peer advisory service and professional association founded by CIO’s publisher, call the Future-State CIO Journey. CIOs who make their way through the journey’s framework begin with being seen as credible service providers, evolve to being influential and transformational business partners, and finally become strategic business peers who boost the bottom line.

The CIO position has always had the potential to generate revenue, says consultant Peter High, founder of Metis Strategy and author of World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs. But he estimates that less than 25 percent of all CIOs have taken the leap to becoming revenue producers.

“It’s the particularly clever CIOs who recognize this advantage and grab hold of it,” he says. “It’s not the average CIO by any stretch of the imagination.”


But Hammonds is aware that improving productivity within Boeing is IT’s primary job. Only about 10 percent of her organization currently works on revenue-driving efforts, and the people who do so are mostly dedicated to that role. While that group may grow in the future, the rest of the IT organization is still focused on internal productivity, Hammonds says.

This kind of split is usually necessary, says Peter High. Chasing revenue could easily become a distraction from maintaining the infrastructure of the business. Balance is required. “CIOs must be cognizant of how they are going to divide their time,” he says. Some of the IT leaders he works with assign days to work on core versus revenue-driving efforts, while others pick direct reports to have daily responsibility for each area while the CIO oversees them both. Whatever they do, they can’t forget that IT is still in charge of maintaining the tech infrastructure or they will find that the trust that allows them to work on revenue-producing services disappears, High says.

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