Monday, August 10, 2020

CIO as Chief Inquisitive Officer: A Set of Inquiries to Reinvent IT as a Trustful Business Partner

The art and science of IT management are to optimize its usage, achieve business value, and develop long term business competency.

Information Technology is the backbone of running a modern business. IT contribution to business value does not come from the technology itself, but from the change that IT both shapes and enables. 

To run a high performance IT organization, CIOs and top business leaders should ponder: What's the business perception of their IT organization? Is IT a competitive necessity or the differentiated advantage of the business? IT leaders will be welcomed to the executive table if executives hear the language they understand - the language which is the most beneficial to the company's future. Here is a set of CIO’s inquiries to help them clear the vision, make an objective assessment of current IT management maturity, and reinvent IT as a trustful business partner.

What are the priorities of senior executives of the company? IT is the means to end, the end is to achieve high-performance business results. It was not so long ago when organizations did not see the opportunity for IT to enable the business strategy, let alone actually drive the business strategy. Thus, it’s important for IT management to clarify priorities of senior executives of the company so they can assign resources scientifically, and manage a balanced portfolio effectively. Due to the overwhelming growth of information and disruptive technologies, it is likely more important today than in the past that IT becomes the key driver of strategy management. Prioritization clarification helps IT management focus on the strategy of the organization, which has huge benefits in terms of execution.

As long as the business values IT as a strategic partner, CIOs and IT would be invited to the big table in strategy planning. the top priorities of IT have to be on business focus, all IT spending must be rationalized against the business benefits. A prioritization roadmap helps IT management prioritize across all projects, so they know which projects should get an increment of analysis and design effort. IT leaders have the relevant knowledge to demonstrate IT as a strategic business competency.

What are the key business processes, capabilities, and systems that are well developed and not well developed? Information systems incorporate both ends and means, they are continuously open to new information from the dynamic business environment and orchestrate a set of IT-enabled business competency. IT is uniquely positioned to observe business processes across the enterprise, and processes underpin business capabilities and systems. Therefore, IT leaders need to evaluate the maturity level of business processes, capabilities, and systems, eliminate unnecessary complications, retire legacy systems; reassess any systems that suck too much resource, budget, energy or require too much IT effort, and try to stay current with ever-changing technologies and dynamic business environments.

The art and science of IT management are to optimize its usage, achieve business value, and develop long term business competency. Keeping things simple and optimizing businesses, is all about leveraging technologies to lower costs, improve operation, optimize processes, structures, and increase revenue. The arrival of IT-enabled organizational capacity and capability on demand can significantly improve business responsiveness and increase the success rate of strategy management. Processes underpin business capabilities. IT leaders should take the lead in introducing process management into the entire company and integrate processes across the organization for improving business responsiveness, agility, and maturity.

Is there any friction existing? How do IT groups work with other groups? In many companies, the IT-business gap is a reality, and the frictions of strategy execution often come from culture inertia and lukewarm support, especially from the top management level. It is invaluable for both IT and business to know what's going on in each other's space and why; rely on each other's strengths and use each other's resources and talent in the most relevant capacity. To lubricate business operations and improve cross-functional collaborations, adopt a learning and continuous improvement culture which involves gathering data, analysis, defining areas to be improved, and achieve the well-intended objectives.

IT and business have to understand exactly how each one operates. A culture of continuous improvement needs to be implemented by systematic processes and high processional IT people, enable the organization to self-service and do more with the technology, so IT can spend more resources on innovation. In addition, IT shouldn't give up control of governance and risk management, as well as building up strong long-term relationships with partners to improve overall IT performance and maximize its potential.

How do they believe decisions are made and how they make them? IT is complex, IT investment is perhaps one of the most expensive investments the company ever makes. Either at the strategic or operational level, IT leaders and professionals need to leverage systematic thinking and governance in making better decisions regarding the project, budget, talent management, etc. Due to the complexity of IT, in most of the cases, The perception of being 'better' is just opinion until pre-defined measures of success are applied to the decision process. IT should continue tuning decision-making scenarios and improve decision effectiveness.

Not only should IT make fact-based decisions within its own department. In fact, one of the most critical responsibilities of Information Management is to provide the right information to the right people to make the right decision at the right time at the company scope, for doing their own job. It’s also important to bring complementary perspectives to the table and optimize business decision support processes to improve overall business decision intelligence.

How do they measure the success of IT management?
First, understand the IT performance goal you try to achieve conceptually, then, select the right KPIs which can reflect the IT performance progress for the long-term. IT Return On Investment value proposition should be an overall measurement based on the combination of cost, schedule, quality, performance, and satisfaction of the various stakeholders. The right IT performance metrics are requested in the right context, to ensure the management buy-in for the metrics collection processes, and really focus on key metrics that correlate to better business outcomes. The way the KPI is measured needs to be an accurate reflection of the reputation and behavior the IT organization is looking to exhibit.

The IT metrics need to increasingly put emphasis on measuring things that the business cares about and make IT function as a clear value-adding partner in the company. A set of IT performance indicators can help them get some objective perspectives on what they are trying to manage, show a clear link to C-Level executives between IT performance and top-line revenue generation, and then pull together the thoughts on the gaps, priorities, disconnects, and needs that exist across the organizations, to make continuous improvement. IT leaders have to be prepared to constantly realign technology against the enterprise's business needs and measure things really matter to the organization's long term success.

The strategic organizational goal must comport a vision for a better state, IT leaders should ask profound questions, clarify strategic priorities of the business, integrate disparate planning sources, access to and gain a better understanding of business, develop a potential IT portfolio and make the seamless IT-business integration and IT-customer alignment to reinvent IT as a trustful business partner and customer champion.


Post a Comment