Two items here nicely illustrate the fact that IT leaders need to understand the business, not the other way around. Michael Farnum gives some examples that demonstrate it takes maturity on the part of infosec and IT professionals to realise that the interests of the business legitimately come before those of the IT function. While I fully agree with this point, the question arises of how IT professionals can acquire the broader business experience to develop this point of view.
Some potential answers are implied in a report from the Society for Information Management Advanced Practices Council, which calls for measures to increase the leadership ability of the next generation of CIOs. Its proposals, including structured career development, job rotation and performance metrics, appear to be confined mainly to the IT function. However, the same approach would surely make an excellent basis for exposing IT pros to the other functions within the business. Why not rotate promising IT leaders around appropriate roles in sales, finance and manufacturing too? That would produce a quantum leap in the business knowledge of CIOs and make them far better able to act strategically for the business.