Re: isn't that your job
I think the problem is that the CIO talks about and delivers hygiene stuff - infrastructure, the desktop, the problems of implementing somebody else's ideas, virtualisation, etc. And when he does get some air time, it's all presented in dull technical terms, supported by all-too-often made up business cases.
But (like many of us) the board don't care about dull stuff. That's no different to finance - they don't care about receivable or payables, they just want the dull and complex stuff to work, and not be bothered themselves. They equally don't care much about HR - "Just get rid of the unwanted employees cleanly, write a few policies, and don't bother us Big People unless you've got a really important idea". The CIO's and IT departments however don't bring innovative ideas to the board themselves. Finance look at ways for helping the business deliver better cashflow, making bigger margins, work with the business units to convert a good idea into real money. Sales & Marketing look to make a splash, forever doing the "big I am" routine, but occasionally managing to land the new business that keeps us solvent. IT lurk on the fringes, and often make things happen, without really being in at the beginning and without being seen to innovate or add much value. An evil necessity, rather than a value creator for the business.
I'm sure some will argue that IT is all about innovation (and as a former techie I have sympathy with that), but let's face it, IT is rarely where the rest of the business starts when they have a good idea. I know in my company, that if I involve IT, I'll be immediately bogged down in exorbitant costs, procedural evaluations, the need to document in painful detail things that I simply want doing, that nobody will see through to the bright shiny vision that I have. By contrast, if I work with finance, they'll test my idea, and if it looks like it might be commercial they'll help me take it forward.
Some companies are different, but as a general rule IT departments are not visionary, not team players, not commercially minded. That's why users cobble their own Access tools, why isolated islands of data suddenly become mission critical assets, why people go round the IT department to get outside systems installed. Indeed, it's part of why these CEO's don't see their CIO as a strategic adviser. Looking at other news, GCHQ are trying to educate UK CEO's about the threat of hacking and IP theft. If the CIO was up to snuff he'd have got some board time two years or more ago, and have presented a non-technical view of the threats, risks and remedies, and GCHQ wouldn't need to do this.
I currently work in a cross business role. I have frequent and useful inputs from finance, and less frequent inputs from HR or marketing, but I can't recall a single time that anybody in our large IT department has come to me with an idea for how my business can work better (ignoring routine, siloed cost cutting that doesn't otherwise affect my business), and I've never had an IT colleague call me and say "Hi, this is Bob - just calling to see if there's anything emerging, or niggling ideas that we might help out with?"