Friday, September 2, 2016

"CIO Master" Book Tuning XXXXXXXXVIIII: How to Improve IT Performance via Objective Assessment

IT assessment is a great way to help identify what is right and wrong in your IT environment. 

Many IT organizations are at the inflection point for digital transformation, they are also reinventing themselves from a cost center to a value-added business partner, and continue to improve IT efficiency, effectiveness, and agility. Therefore, making an objective IT assessment helps IT management to diagnose the early signal for dysfunctional IT, as well as help to take a critical look at IT strength and weakness, in order to move up its overall maturity.

IT Assessment: IT assessment is a great way to help identify what is right and wrong in your IT environment. The IT assessment should cover people, processes, products and partners and should be performed by an external group to remove any bias or tunnel vision from internal staff members. Think of it as an IT check up. IT assessment includes such as pure health check techniques, interviews, third party relationship analysis are all techniques that can be applied to give a picture of what is working or not. Not everyone will be happy about it, but hopefully, you can detect issues before they start to cause major problems.There are quantifiable elements such as inefficiencies which can be brought to light by leveraging the right management system. For uncovering overlapping roles/ dysfunctions, the in-depth performance analysis should be done as part of the performance objective setting exercise.

Spot the early signals for dysfunctional IT: The key watch-outs for signs of dysfunctional IT are during times when a project runs into rough whether or not a crisis occurs. This is the time when people resort to their natural unconscious behaviors. Then you should validate your observations by seeking input from your customers. The customer experience should reinforce the IT branding efforts. If your branding efforts and the customer experience don’t match up, your branding efforts will be wasted. If the organizational culture is strong and value systems (credo) are reinforced through celebration, storytelling, communications, rewards and recognition then these get embedded into the unconscious psyche of all associates. Annual feedbacks from employees are key aspects of business strategy understanding, leadership behavior, job satisfaction etc. It can provide rich inputs to reveal what the associates are thinking and what they perceive. This input must be shared transparently and acted upon very visibility.

Information grid: IT often suffers from overload, lack of resource managing delivery including supporting process development projects in other parts of the company and sometimes no time left selling the idea about investing in their own processes. Take a critical look at IT, IT leaders need to be honest with yourself about assessing the strengths and weaknesses of IT organization. Create a comprehensive list of the IT organization’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives based on self-evaluation and feedback result. Map the information into an information grid. This grid will serve as the reality check for your IT brand strategy. Your IT goals and objectives will be your drivers. Your strengths and weaknesses will be your constraints. Senior leadership team needs to keep on the same page: C-level executives, including the CIO, must be primarily focused on identifying and meeting business goals and objectives.

A CIO must also be able to make an objective assessment, develop and optimize the IT operational function within itself. It is one thing to have the IT resource aligned with the business strategies/ objectives (IT Effectiveness). It is also something to have the IT resources (people and operational IT processes) refined to the point that they are nimble, can adapt to changing business demands in a timely fashion (IT Agility); it can be reapplied to altering business priorities and be effective with little down curve (IT Efficiency). When CIOs are able to position and maintain the IT organization to ensure it addresses "IT Effectiveness," "IT Efficiency," and IT Agility, they have earned their stripes, and run IT as a value-added business partner.


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