New task for CIOs: Make money

Sure, all CIOs seek to add value, but some are taking their quest outside the walls of the enterprise by targeting customers directly.

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PHI Inc. CIO James Quinn was thinking more about customers than cash when he gave his IT team a task.

His challenge to them: Find ways to deepen the level of engagement between PHI, a Lafayette, La. provider of helicopter services, and its customers, which include some of the world's biggest energy companies needing transport to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Quinn was perfectly happy when the end results went beyond just customer engagement to include actual revenue.

"I tasked the IT department to come up with ways to integrate with customers so they'd have some loss if they moved away from us," he explains. "We were looking for some value-add, and it just happened to turn into a revenue-generating set of products."

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