According to Gayley, building a winning IT organization starts with "understanding your business peers, and what they are trying to accomplish. You've got to get involved with them, to understand the demands" of the overall business.
Once the demands are clear, Swartz said, it's important to establish metrics that measure the hows and whys of IT performance, so that internal customers understand why IT can't always do everything they ask.
"One of our biggest challenges is meeting expectations," Swartz said. That's why inside the university, his department creates service-level agreements with its different constituent groups. Such internal contracts, he said, "help people understand that it takes money to deliver IT."
Tuesday's news of the MyDoom virus spread was old hat to the two CIOs, who said that dealing with external issues is a prime concern for all businesses.