A growing stream of studies is concentrating on IT management value, i.e. on how value is created not (only) through IT investment and deployment, but (also, or mainly) through the way IT is idiosyncratically managed by each specific organization. This implies that the capabilities, behaviors and organizational role of CIOs and IT managers could be crucial for the creation of strategic value. Our research question is then the following: in the emerging scenario, shaped by e-business and cloud computing, how can the IT manager’s capabilities, behaviors and organizational role influence the generation of competitive advantage? To answer this question, we conducted an explorative study based on interviews to nine managers from as many Italian organizations. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed through coding. We found that the CIO is perceived as bound to change towards more hybridized roles, whilst the IT department structure is perceived as evolving towards a much deeper cooperation with external partners and with other departments of the organization; this may imply, for example, a matrix organizational re-design. Moreover, our interviews led to the identification of 15 features of the CIO/IT manager, that are perceived as important or crucial for the generation of competitive advantage. Most of these features imply outstanding relational capabilities on the part of the IT managers.
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