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The November Cutter IT Journal invites useful, innovative, and thoughtful debate on how IT can take on strategic leadership roles in the new global environment. We invite anyone who is interested to send us an abstract for consideration.

Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers

Leveraging IT’s Wisdom to Shape Corporate Strategy

The IT organization has traditionally been cast in a supportive
role to the corporation. The IT folks are the ones you call when
your PC needs to be updated or when you’re having trouble with the
network or difficulty installing some piece of software. IT
managers therefore have also traditionally taken on a supportive
or customer service role, seeking to meet the needs of their
internal customers. This framing has limited the impact that IT
has had on the strategic direction of companies and has
potentially limited the speed and effectiveness with which
companies have responded to technological changes.

The business world today is increasingly information-driven: in
the way that companies operate internally, in the way they
interact with their customers and suppliers, and in the choices
they make regarding their products and services. With their finger
on the pulse of technology and information, IT organizations can
potentially be important strategic assets to their companies,
helping them stay ahead of the curve on emerging technologies and
trends, allowing them to take advantage of new opportunities, and
averting the disastrous consequences of making poor technological
bets.

For these advantages to be realized, IT managers will have to take
more proactive and strategic roles within the companies they
support, leveraging the knowledge and perspective of their
organizations into strategic decisions at the executive level.
This has far-reaching implications as to the involvement of IT at
the strategic levels of the company, the kinds of skills and
people you look for in promoting people within IT, and the way IT
goes about doing its job.

There are a number of factors that need to be considered when
examining the role of IT in providing strategic leadership within
companies. These include:

  • Does IT have a broad enough perspective to impact strategic
    direction? While it is true that information technology is a big
    driver in today’s business world, it is by no means the only
    important driver. Some might say that IT managers need to have a
    seat at the table helping to determine the strategic direction of
    companies, while others might argue that IT comes from too narrow
    a perspective and might lead the organization astray.

  • Are we putting the right people in positions of leadership and
    giving them the ability to lead? It may be that a more strategic
    role for IT requires different skills and characteristics than
    those possessed by the people we are currently promoting into IT
    management positions. Moreover, if we are limiting these managers
    to a service role and mentality, are we preventing them from
    taking on more significant leadership roles?
  • What kind of training, coaching, and experience do we need to
    give IT managers for them to be successful in providing leadership
    to their companies? It is not enough to put people in management
    roles and to tell them to lead. If IT managers are to become
    leaders in their companies, we need to look at the ways we are
    training and preparing them to accomplish this goal.

These and other factors have given pause to those who say that the
time has come for IT to take more of a leadership role in
corporations. However, the centrality of information and
technology to the operations and market success of many businesses
do point in the direction of IT leading the way. The question,
then, isn’t just whether IT should lead, but rather what
contribution IT can and should make, and what decisions and
processes need to be put in place to make sure that any strategic
leadership efforts by IT are likely to promote the goals of the
business.

The November Cutter IT Journal invites useful, innovative, and
thoughtful debate on how IT can take on strategic leadership roles
in the new global environment.

TOPICS OF INTEREST MAY INCLUDE (but are not certainly limited to)
the following:

  • What are the technology or information drivers that determine a
    company’s success going forward?
  • What characteristics are companies going to require from their
    executive team to navigate through these challenges?
  • Case studies or examples showing why IT needs to take a
    leadership role in companies and how it can do so.
  • Case studies or examples in which IT did take a leadership role
    and succeeded — or things went awry as a result.
  • What are the characteristics and behaviors we should be looking
    for and promoting in our up-and-coming IT leaders?
  • What training, support, and experience should we be giving
    emerging IT leaders so they can be effective leaders within their
    companies?
  • What technological advances have made IT’s role strategically
    important in companies?
  • How do we get executives to understand and internalize the
    value-added role that IT could have in influencing the company’s
    strategy?

TO SUBMIT AN ARTICLE IDEA

Please respond by 15 August to Moshe
Cohen at moshe[at]negotiatingtable[dot]com with a copy to
itjournal[at]cutter[dot]com and include an extended abstract and a
short article outline showing major discussion points.

ARTICLE DEADLINE

Articles are due on 26 September 2008.

EDITORIAL GUIDELINES

Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approximately 2,500-3,500
words long, plus whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have
any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact Chris
Generali, Group Publisher, at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com or the
Guest Editor, Moshe Cohen at moshe[at]negotiatingtable[dot]com. See
Editorial guidelines.

AUDIENCE

Typical readers of Cutter IT Journal range from CIOs and vice
presidents of software organizations to IT managers, directors,
project leaders, and very senior technical staff. Most work in
fairly large organizations: Fortune 500 IT shops, large computer
vendors (IBM, HP, etc.), and government agencies. 48% of our
readership is outside of the US (15% from Canada, 14% Europe, 5%
Australia/NZ, 14% elsewhere). Please avoid introductory-level,
tutorial coverage of a topic. Assume you’re writing for someone
who has been in the industry for 10 to 20 years, is very busy, and
very impatient. Assume he or she will be asking, “What’s the
point? What do I do with this information?” Apply the “So what?”
test to everything you write.

PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

We are pleased to offer Journal authors a year’s complimentary
subscription and 10 copies of the issue in which they are
published. In addition, we occasionally pull excerpts, along with
the author’s bio, to include in our weekly Cutter Edge e-mail
bulletin, which reaches another 8,000 readers. We’d also be
pleased to quote you, or passages from your article, in Cutter
press releases. If you plan to be speaking at industry
conferences, we can arrange to make copies of your article or the
entire issue available for attendees of those speaking engagements
— furthering your own promotional efforts.

ABOUT CUTTER IT JOURNAL

No other journal brings together so many cutting-edge thinkers,
and lets them speak so bluntly and frankly. We strive to maintain
the Journal’s reputation as the “Harvard Business Review of IT.”
Our goal is to present well-grounded opinion (based on real,
accountable experiences), research, and animated debate about each
topic the Journal explores.

PLEASE FORWARD THIS CALL FOR PAPERS TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT HAVE AN
APPROPRIATE SUBMISSION.

avatar

Christine Generali

Christine Generali is a Group Publisher for Cutter Consortium - responsible for the editorial direction and content management of Cutter's flagship publication, Cutter IT Journal.

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