Show me the money

ACN runs down six top tips for CIOs on what to do - and not to do - to get the best salary and compensation package possible.

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By  Eliot Beer, Imthishan Giado and Brid-Aine Conway Published  May 11, 2008

ACN runs down six top tips for CIOs on what to do - and not to do - to get the best salary and compensation package possible.

Remuneration, pay, compensation - one of the most divisive and controversial topics of discussion anywhere in the world.

Different cultures are often diametrically opposed on how they tackle the issue: many American are likely to come out and ask what your salary is within half an hour of meeting you; most Britons would never dream of asking, and would be offended by the question.

Here in the Middle East, a cultural tendency towards discretion means salaries are not usually on the table for casual conversation, but often a desire for status - especially among expatriate workers of all nationalities - leads to conspicuous demonstrations (or exaggerations) of income.

I’ve seen cases where some of our clients go to their boards and ask for more money for an ERP system. It’s always expressed in very technical terms.

But when push comes to shove, the most important discussion anyone ever has about remuneration is with their boss, who always knows only too well how much - or little - is in the monthly pay packet. And it is to your boss that any requests for increases must go - the question is, how to make that boss say yes.

IT decision makers are often in a tough position; in the majority of organisations, IT is a cost, not profit, centre, and as such only has a tangential bearing on the bottom line.

This can potentially lead to a disconnect where the IT department is running smoothly, but compensation increases are off the table due to poor company performance.

Unfortunately for CIOs in this position, increasing numbers of companies now insist on linking all pay with the overall bottom line. Fortunately, IT decision makers are in a better position than ever to start making more of a contribution to this bottom line.

Here ACN has spoken to a number of leading business and IT decision makers across the region, asking for their top tips on how CIOs and other senior IT professionals can make the most of their compensation opportunities.

1. Making money

"CxO positions, whether they're CIO or other, are actually directly reflected on the bottom line of the company and in that position, they can actually be held responsible, not just on a project to project basis, but in how they have contributed to improve the profitability of the company and their bottom line.

In my role as an operational manager at the head of a company, my remuneration is directly linked to net profit and that is exactly how it should be even for a CIO," states Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft.

If an IT decision maker can demonstrate that he or she has boosted the firm's revenue - or better yet, profit - then rewards will come naturally, according to Bamps. Even within companies that do not operate IT as a profit centre, there is plenty of scope for contributing.

Obvious ways include cost savings - reducing inventory problems, speeding up ordering and so on - but more ambitious CIOs can aim to deliver a genuine increase, through initiatives from online shopping portals, to business intelligence projects that deliver new insight into possible areas for expansion.

Whatever you do, make sure your boss - and the board - gets to hear about it.

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