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Associations Now

Why IT Should Report Directly to the CEO

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, February 2013 Technology

By: Katie Bascuas

Summary: American Wind Energy Association CIO Thad Lurie says IT is not what it used to be.

Associations Now: How is the nature of IT changing?

Lurie:Ten years ago, people looked at IT as the folks who would fix your printer or someone who would fix your email account—very reactive, very service-oriented, and relatively isolated. The new, more effective paradigm is to include IT at a strategic level.

How can associations incorporate IT at that level?

I would tend to avoid putting someone who knows very little about technology in a direct management role with respect to IT. The way many organizations are currently structured, IT reports up through the CFO or the COO, which works in some cases and not in others. My preferred arrangement is to have the head of IT reporting directly to the CEO, or at the very least having a seat at the executive management table. [It] will allow you to be much more thoughtful when you're doing planning and when you're looking at trying to promote efficiency within operations.

How can associations effectively leverage IT?

My first suggestion is to take a step back and look at where technology is playing a role in the organization. Do an outline of what you are doing well and where you can do better. You take a look at that and say, "Well, we need help here and here. Does that mean we're hiring an additional staff person? Does that mean we're promoting from within? Does that mean we're bringing in additional resources?" There's lots of different ways to bake a cake. It's what works best for your organization.

Katie Bascuas is associate editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email: kbascuas@asaecenter.org

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