Monday, March 18, 2013

What is the single most Important Tool every CIO should Use?

HOW the 'tool' is used is as important, if not more so, than what the tool happens to be. It's a 'Goldilocks" kind of thing – you don't want to be too hot, or too cold; too big, or too small, etc. 

Effective tools will always help CIOs achieve more, First of all, the most important "tool" is “people”.  It is always about "who", not "what". The best tool a CIO can use is his/her brain and along with it, the wisdom and intuition that are needed to function as a C-level executive

The modern CIO needs to have the ability to 'calibrate your impact' – being able to quickly (and competently) recognize the impact you are or are having; taking full responsibility for that impact, and modifying it in real-time to align with the impact you're wanting/intending to have. The following tools may help CIOs calibrate such impact.

1. A Strategic Business Plan with IT Strategy as an Integral Component 

A strategic plan clearly aligns with the organization's people, process maturity, financials, and culture.

 IT Strategy as an Integral part of the business strategy: Get that right process right and aligned with the business and then you will know what people to use and how. 

Effectively steering via well-defined deliverable: A set of integrated plans, composed of functions and processes that together form a services strategy that continuously adds value to the strategic assets of their customer's business strategy. 

2.  A well Designed EA

A good enterprise architecture document will provide a succinct big picture about enterprise, not just IT, can also be dug through if necessary, it should tell stories, provide knowledge and governance guideline as well. Failure to have and use business-side work process architecture is exactly like flying an airplane while blindfolded

  • EBA: An important tool for a CIO and his/her department is a complete and up-to-date “Work Process Architecture” from the operations side of the business. 
  • EITA: That architecture is THE TARGET for enablement with information technology 

3.   Five “WHY”s Reality Tree & other Analytics Tools

CIOs lead by asking, the 5 "WHYs" Reality Tree is also great for IT leaders to dig through root causes, it can help cultivate the culture of innovation about asking more WHYs, beyond just HOW. 

Spend significant time on preventative measures (educating) then digging for causes and use analytics tools properly.  However, don't get buried in the analysis. Even seasoned exec's can get caught up in the act of chasing more and more data. 

4.   An Enterprise-Level Social Platform

A social platform with enterprise business purpose & focus is also very important these days, to capture collective insight, recognize talent and make leadership influence. However, the pitfalls of social tools include distraction, lack of business focus, lack of clear business measurement.

5.  A Comprehensive Balanced Scoreboard/Dashboard

The balanced scorecard is the balanced scorecard model offers a way for a corporation to gain a wider perspective on its strategic decisions by considering the impact on finances, customers, internal processes and employee satisfaction. The analysis takes into account financial and non-financial measures, internal improvements, past outcomes and ongoing requirements as indications of future performance. It allows CIOs to manage IT more systematically & transparently.

6. A Communication Plan for Engaging Customers 

Relationships are driven by being active and visible. You have to manage across all dimensions and that can only occur if you are talking with people. The best way to capture indicators is often via informal communications.

  • A communication plan may help CIOs build strong, effective business and personal relationships with the senior leadership and stakeholders within their company. 
  • Meeting analysis report (measure the amount of meeting, number of correct decisions, amount of people grabbed, the identity of task workers hidden in the shadow., etc.)  

7.    Staff Management Tool: Goals for all staff

The staff management tools are a combination of measurable and also soft skill based. Many groups have goals that are too technical and do not address the behavior. An effective staff management tool enables CIOs to manage the most critical asset: talent. Furthermore, that people are the best tool a CIO should have since he/she is not involved in the day to day and communication with the people who are essential to come to decisions, proposals, and good outcome. 

The “soft” tool is also the CIO’s ability to marketing, communicating & promoting IT throughout the organization ~ helping the organization understand the critical role IT plays while hearing, understanding and delivering on the needs of the organization ~ which all involves people..people..people. People are the key, not just IT staff themselves, but every person within the organization. Particularly other managers/directors yes, but also every single user, team member, client, supporter, and partner. "Information" is, of course, the lifeblood of every organization and with our responsibility to deliver on this "remit" we must take our responsibility as connectors, empowerers and protectors extremely seriously.

Last but not least, HOW the 'tool' is used is as important, if not more so, than what the tool happens to be. It's a 'Goldilocks" kind of thing – you don't want to be too hot, or too cold; too big, or too small, etc. Whatever you think, do, or feel needs to be 'just right' for the situation, the strategy, the prioritization, etc. And don’t forget the common sense.


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