The American CIO 100, published by our friends across the pond, demonstrates the emergence of technology innovation and business value delivery among its class of accomplished IT leaders.

That's the view of Michael Friedenberg, the CEO of IDG Communications, the parent company of CIO UK's publisher IDG UK.

At the heart of these accomplishments, Friedenberg argues, is the ascendancy of a new executive skill set in marketing, market knowledge, and communications.

The US CIO 100 winners include some of the best known brands in the world, including FedEx, GE, The New York Times and Proctor & Gamble, along with less corporate institutions "but equally deserving innovators" like Georgetown University and the Atlanta Public Schools.

Also inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame was CIO and senior vice president at retailer Kroger, Chris Hjelm, who featured in CIO UK last year discussing how innovation was embedded in the supermarket chain's strategy for growth.

Friedenberg said: "Taken together as IT organisations and individuals, this Class of 2014 demonstrates the vitality of the connection between IT innovation and business value delivery. What I also see demonstrated in these award winners is the ascendancy of a new executive skill set in three areas: marketing, market knowledge and communications.

"Those core attributes have been cited as the major differences between great CEOs and great CIOs, according to global executive search firm Egon Zehnder. But that was then. This is now:

  • Marketing: The ability to articulate how IT is not only contributing to but accelerating the business. The past was all about IT delivering on time and on budget. The present is about delivering great user experience, solid business value and high adoption rates.
  • Market knowledge: Who is your real customer? The days when IT organisations couldn't answer that question are gone. Our CIO 100 winners and Hall of Famers are deeply engaged with customers, leveraging technology and market understanding to deliver measurable value. They stand beside their business colleagues, not behind them.
  • Communications: "Speak the language of business" may be one of the oldest pieces of CIO advice ever given, but today's IT leaders do more than talk the talk. They translate their grasp of business essentials into technology deliverables. They sit in board rooms and contribute fresh ideas to drive revenue. They walk the walk.

In April the CIO 100 recognised Nissan Europe's Stephen Kneebone, Telefonica's Global CIO Phil Jordan, and Financial Times CIO Christina Scott as three of the leading technology executives in the UK.