Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CIO as a Strategist: How to Do Strategy Management Right

 At the end of the day, the organization must be centered on its customers.

IT strategy is an integral component of business strategy. The objective of IT strategy is not just to be aligned with business strategy, rather, IT strategy is an integral part of Business Strategy. CIOs as an IT leader and a business strategist, how to create a good strategy, and more importantly, how to implement it, and demonstrate business value in order to build solid IT reputation and improve IT maturity?

IT strategy has to be an integral component of the business strategy: Taking a step back, there is another way to approach this subject. The role of IT is important, and the functional purpose of IT is still an enabler of business unit success. However, the IT Strategy can be a vague concept of the IT professional. Why? Because IT leadership needs to know the strategy of a business before any IT plan can be created to enable that strategy. Especially nowadays, information is the living blood, and technology is the very cause of most digital disruptions, IT becomes an innovation engine to business growth, IT strategy has to be an integral component of business strategy. However, the main problem is that business executives still limit their vision of IT as “IT supports a Strategy,” so CIO role as C-level is to contribute to the formulation of the business strategy where new trends of technology will provide strategic capabilities to the business that will enhance the competitive advantages of the organization.

Create a One Page strategy to highlight and spread the message around: In this digital age of continuous changes, successful CIOs have a seat at the big table, think less about technology and more about business, and understand the importance of communication. It is about following the simplicity principle to run IT infrastructure more efficiently, with a special focus on VALUE delivery. This will also give IT flexibility to proactively riding above the emerging trends and what the business requires. And, as CIOs, you need to think more about strategic things than operational issues. for example, create a one-page strategy, which is hard to produce, but pays huge dividends when trying to get your message across, especially in the early stages. The main issue is the knowledge gap of business executives to the trends of new technology and its impact on the business. The main role of CIOs is to demonstrate to the other executives the added value provided by technology using the business language (as businesses cases).
Well orchestrate IT framework, processes, technology and people to ensure the success of strategy implementation: CIOs should have the knowledge and ability to demonstrate IT capabilities as a strategic enabler of the business, and CIOs to be part of the executives for articulating the differentiated IT-enabled business capability to underpin strategy execution. The uncertainty of the business strategy will be the real challenge to the CIOs as to design an IT Architecture which had the complexity due to the technology trends at the different layers while maintaining its agility for accommodating the dynamics of the business requirements. Applying frameworks and methodologies with good performance management will ensure the success of IT strategy.

At the end of the day, the organization must be centered on its customers. In the case of IT, the organization is "the client" as well as the end customers. IT should be inviting the ranks of business professionals, C-level, Directors, and Managers to periodic review meetings which discuss the performance of various technologies. You need to look at IT as a business resource. The insightful IT managers, Directors and CIOs gleam from various measurements of business-driven measurement can be amazing. The help-desk team has a front row seat to organizational culture and behavior. The developer customizing web pages, customizing databases, IT not only keeps the light on but more about the value-added effort to win over both old and new customers. If IT proactively shows how it measures an organization via business lenses, not just IT view, and how it can help solve the thorny business problems, it will gain a better reputation.

CIOs need to have a holistic view of the business from a senior business leader’s perspectives and to provide the added value of technology. Now, Information Systems are impacting every business activities at the organization, CIOs should have a strong business knowledge to be able to communicate with the other executives. And IT success is based on how CIOs manage strategy - implementation cycle and create business value to build a customer-centric organization.


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