Posts Tagged ‘IT transformation’

5th

Your future is created by what you do todayYou hear it in the press, from the  industry experts, and perhaps even from your own C-suite — the siren call to transform IT.
You know changes are needed – maybe even radical ones – to ensure future business success.  But the realities of today’s business are at the same time both demanding and limiting.

How can you begin making noticeable progress on the transformation that you know is needed for future success?

This article was written as a guest post on Martha Heller’s blog.  Martha is President of Heller Search Associates, Contributing Editor of CIO Magazine, and former Founder and Managing Director of CIO Executive Council.

Click here to read the entire article.

10th

There has never been a stronger need for a solid relationship between the CEO and CIO.  Rapid technology advances are causing changes in societal behavior which in turn are having a profound effect on business.  Social and mobile technologies have given new power to the customer to compare products, solicit/discover third-party product recommendations, publicly voice their support or displeasure, and buy from anywhere.  This has ushered in the ‘Age of the Customer’ which Forrester defines as a “20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers” (Technology Management in the Age of the Customer). Connecting

Technology is also enabling disruption of entire industries.  Think about the effect, for example, that Amazon has had on retail brick & mortar booksellers.  In fact, an IBM study found that 41% of CEOs expect increased competition from companies outside their industry in the near future (The Customer Activated Enterprise).  They also recognize that companies within their industry are using big data/analytics to improve their decision-making and more precisely target customers.  CEOs are placing a priority on shaking up the status quo in their organization.  There is a sense of urgency and a push for innovation, and technology is obviously a major part of the solution.

But in too many companies, there is a disconnect between the CEO and the CIO.  Jim Stikeleather writes in a Harvard Business Review blog about a research study on the changing role of the CIO and IT (The IT Conversation We Should Be Having).  In short, the study found that CEOs believe that CIOs are not in sync with the new issues CEOs are facing.  In addition, CEOs feel that CIOs do not understand where the business needs to go and do not have a strategy truly supportive of the business.  More specifically, almost half of CEOs feel IT should be a commodity service purchased as needed and do not feel that their CIO understands the business nor how to apply IT in new ways to the business.  Moreover, a KPMG survey found that only 5% of executives feel that their business and IT strategies are 100% aligned (Executives See Disconnect Between Strategy and Technology Within Their Organizations).  Given this, is there any wonder at the call for the elimination of the Chief Information Officer position and/or the addition of other C-level positions like the Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Data Officer, or Chief Digital Officer? (Will CDO Steal CIO’s Leadership Role?)  Yet I can’t help but feel that the major issue here is that too many CIOs have not truly gotten involved in the business and have not worked to develop a solid relationship with the CEO and other C-suite executives.

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6th

IT professionals love to change things.  The opportunity to make a difference has attracted many to the profession.  They enjoy the challenge of coming up with a new idea. time for change They enjoy brainstorming and analyzing with an eye toward improvement…incrementally as well as revolutionary.  You can see the twinkle in their eyes and hear the excitement in their voices as their thoughts start to jell into a plausible solution.  They are willing to put in many long, hard hours to help these ideas become a reality.

But while IT professionals are very good at identifying, constructing, and implementing automated solutions to improve processes and procedures, the people side of change seems to often be lacking in many projects and in many organizations.  The people side is hard.  Automating a process, for example, can change a person’s daily routine, his job, his career.  At times it also causes job elimination.  Helping people prepare for, accept, and embrace such changes is not necessarily as much a matter of logic as of listening and caring.

Yes, helping others to change is hard.  But it is even harder when we have to change ourselves.

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22nd

“What business are you in?”  Ask any IT practitioner this question and you will likely hear something like, “I’m in IT.”

Let’s face it.  Most IT people do not seem to see themselves as bankers, manufacturers, retailers, or distributors.  They see themselves as IT professionals.  After all, couldn’t they easily take their skills to another industry that uses similar technology?lemonade stand

It is true that an IT professional may perhaps be able to switch industries easier than those in some other professions.  But a single-minded focus on technology (rather than on the larger business environment that actually writes the paychecks) prevents your company from truly benefitting from all the talents at their disposal.

In his book Get Out of I.T. While You Can, Craig Schiefelbein proposes an interesting exercise.  Pick out any IT professional in your company.  Now imagine your CEO recruiting that individual on the spur of the moment to show some important potential customers around the company.  You could expect the customers to ask typical questions like:

  • What is your target market for each of your products?
  • Who are the major competitors for each of your products and what are your advantages as compared to your competition?  What are the selling points your competitors use against you?
  • What else differentiates you from your competition?
  • What is your company doing to ensure me that it will still be around in five or ten years?
  • What are you doing to improve the customer experience?

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10th

Do you have the courage required to be the IT leader your company needs?

A 2012 study by Ernst & Young (The DNA of the CIO) reports that many IT leaders find their roles hugely rewarding and enjoyable, but relatively few have broken out of their comfort Driver or Passengerzone to become true partners to the business and the executive team.  The study states that many CIOs are truly a C-level in title only and are not perceived to be at the same level as others in the C-suite.  For example, only 17% of the CIOs participating in the study were members of the executive team, and less than half were involved in strategic decision-making.  Further, there was a disconnect between the CIO and the rest of the C-suite as to the value of having the CIO involved in a strategic manner.  It appears that many of the C-suite beliefs about the CIO are rooted in a historical view of IT as solely a back office function – perhaps somewhat akin to facilities management.  IT is viewed as a cost-center.  As such, a primary focus is often to control the IT budget rather than to explore the additional value IT can bring the business. 

Changing the perception of business leaders is not an easy task.  It is a viewpoint that has developed over a number of years.  Many see IT as slow, unresponsive, reactive, costly, and resistant to change.  Further, they often seem to believe that IT is more focused on themselves than on the business.    Read the rest of this entry »

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