technology in business

Over the last couple months, I’ve run across a few CIOs who are frustrated with their ability to be strategic within the context of their companies.  They feel like the only strategy their executives want them to pursue is one around cost minimization.  The most strategic thing they can do is implement SAP or some other “commodity” ERP application to help streamline their business internally.

The only common denominator between these CIOs is that they all work for technology companies.  So, it isn’t that these companies aren’t using technology strategically to compete, it is just that someone other than the CIO owns it, usually a CTO.  Any kind of revenue generating idea is by default assigned to someone other than the CIO.

I may be exaggerating a bit here to make a point, but I’m wondering if people think these CIOs have a valid point.

Is it harder to be a strategic CIO in a tech company?

If so, what can these CIOs do to be more strategic, or should they just hunker down and manage their costs?