Is the role of a CIO "strategic?"  According
the CIO
of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, not a chance if "the trains aren’t running
on time," for starters.  Beyond that, what does it take for
a CIO to truly gain credibility as more than a blocker and tackler?

Understand what’s important to your CEO (a/k/a managing partner or executive
committee).  For example, at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, CIO Steve Agnoli
grabbed on to the fact that the future of a law firm lies in the quality
of its professionals, and developed an on-line associate evaluation system—indisputably
an IT initiative joined at the hip with something a law firm needs to
be superior at to prosper in the long run.

A second "best practice" is to put the firm’s imperatives ahead of the
IT department’s.  So, for example, if a customer relationship management
rollout (inward-focused, need we remind you) needs to be postponed in
order to deliver a key client extranet, should there be any question
which gets priority?

And last, human nature being what it is, promote your own IT agenda
by talking about the elements of your IT plan that directly undergird
the firm’s strategic plans.  It’s all about credibility.

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