The not-too-subtle implication is that IT does not contribute to the company's revenue raising activities and consequently the IT team should not participate in bonus structures, should not complain about having to explain to a salesman how to insert section breaks for the umpteenth time and most certainly should acknowledge that if only the company didn't have to spend cash on computers and software it wouldn't.
Obviously, these claims are absurd and to answer each one would take needless oxygen. I typically dismiss it by noting the payroll department has the highest costs and absolutely zero revenue. Can we run the business without payroll?
To my mind, the view that IT is a burden shows a fundamental sickness within the business.
First, what is the IT department doing to counter these views? What real actions are employed to demonstrate the value and solutions possible? Secondly, and what is often not considered, what is wrong with the business mindset that allowed this view to take root?
Gone, I believe, are the days when running a lean and efficient IT infrastructure was the chief goal for IT leaders. The truth is technology is so intertwined in business processes that cost controls, efficiency and robustness now are part of any manager's role.
While the IT head must ultimately take control, line managers and executive members alike must be held accountable for excess and waste of any kind within their departments. Squeezing greater efficiency from internal IT operations ought properly to be a baseline expectation, and not just from the designated IT manager, but from the entire business.
No, where the CIO can thrive and demonstrate higher value is elsewhere. Modern businesses operate in a high change, high risk and highly competitive economy. In this environment CIO's can thrive by continually evolving the organisation's technology platform so it is aligned, and continues to be aligned, with the company's strategy.