As a CIO, it’s unlikely that you participate in earnings calls or in meetings with Wall Street analysts, but a few do and it’s usually to showcase the emphasis an enterprise has on technology.

Indeed, State Street CIO and EVP Christopher Perretta is one of the lucky ones, according to a post by CIO writer Kim Nash (full disclosure: she’s also a Words with Friends rival.). She recounts how Perretta launched a “massive” technology transformation project in 2010. I Googled “CIOs who participate in earnings calls” and not much came back except for Nash’s post.

The financial giant has a technology tab on its corporate overview page to underscore what it thinks is important. The tab leads to a “message from the CIO” in which Perretta reveals that 20-25 per cent of State Street’s annual operating budget is earmarked for technology development. However, Perretta is absent from State Street’s 11-member management committee.

I blogged a while back about how State Street was laying off 520 IT workers and transferring another 320 to outsourcers as it worked through a migration to the private cloud. IT at State Street is clearly front and center. After money, it’s primary product is information. 

Nash makes a final point. “I can almost hear the collective snore in the audience when the CIO steps up to the microphone.” It’s vital that analysts understand technology and IT decisions, but most of the time, they do not pay attention. 

Trotting out the CIO to Wall Street has probably never occurred to most CEOs. What’s the point if analysts are not the least bit interested in technology and IT (That CFOs always make Wall Street appearances is a strong indication who has more power in the C suite)?       

It’s all a matter of emphasis.

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