Saturday, August 12, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer” How to Run Digital IT Exceeding Business Expectations

To keep improving IT performance and exceed business expectations, CIOs need to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and approaches and understand how that might benefit the business.

Information is permeating into every corner of the business, and technology is an important component of almost all key business processes. But more often, there are discrepancies on how IT perceives itself and how the business perceives IT. In order to improve IT performance, IT leaders should collect the feedback from different business stakeholders. Suggestions would be to ask superiors, customers, and other stakeholders what their expectations are of you, and whether or not you meet these expectations. Because different groups of stakeholders have different perspectives on how IT is doing and how IT can help them succeed. CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to run digital IT exceeding business expectations?


The BoDs’ IT expectation: The corporate board plays a crucial role in strategic oversight and performance evaluation. Generally speaking, boards should be informed on what benefit is being delivered by IT and aware of constraints and risks. Because IT is an enabler of current and future capability for both the organization and its ecosystem. So much of the board conversation about IT should be framed in respect of the business activities and the ecosystem. The role for the IT leaders at the boardroom is to identify and present potential strategic alternatives uncovered by disruptive technologies and participate in embedding them into the business framework. The three keys to presenting IT value at board room are financial returns, return timeline. and risk. Directors are particularly involved in overseeing and understanding more traditional IT issues, such as the performance status of major IT management portfolio, the company’s annual IT budgets, as well as overseeing and understanding risks related to compromising customer data, etc. The board discussion may not be only centered around cost, but also on productivity improvement, business growth. Just like any other investment. If you can present IT portfolio in a manner similar to an investment portfolio it makes instant conceptual sense to board and C-level folks.


The business customers’ IT expectation:  Many IT organizations are still being perceived as the cost center or support function only, to reinvent IT and exceed the business customers’ expectations. Today’s organizations are at a crossroads where the segregation or silo of business units are at a need to reach across the aisles and respectively work with each other. Hence, the CIO has to work with the business functional executives to understand the business, the business drivers, long-term objectives, and strategy and then ensure that he/she is providing input to support these goals. IT should collect business customers’ feedback, the digital IT practice is to live as the “customer," pointing out that customer inquiries are not just support related, but can foster new and better ways the application can perform and optimize every touch point of customer experience. To make the IT link strong and the outlook clear is to empower the IT team and make them think through the business world and from customers’ perspective while working on the customer-centric solutions. IT can exceed the business customers’ expectations when IT is intentionally aligning with customers. While this is a responsibility of the IT function, it must also be a responsibility of the overall business leadership because we can't reasonably expect the IT leaders to know everything about everything, or to be the sole source of new ideas!


The shareholders’ expectation: IT is often one of the biggest investments the business ever makes. To improve IT maturity and convince shareholders about IT value, it is important to convince the shareholders on new initiatives with solid business justification by showing them the potential business benefits to meet the strategy. Try and show how close IT has come to the perceived value that the business has about IT. The CIO needs to act as “Chief Investment Officer,” to justify business case via fiancé term. CIOs need to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and approaches and understand how that might benefit the business. It is also important to select the right set of IT performance indicators of improvement, innovation, and investment, and measure them effectively. IT should keep shareholders update on what proportion of IT spending is used to run, grow, or transform the business, the amount can further be divided into strategic (future business critical), tactical (efficiency and effectiveness) and operational (IT capacity) investments and expenditures.


To keep improving IT performance and exceed business expectations, CIOs need to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and approaches and understand how that might benefit the business. Success is a subjective opinion. Often it is up to CIOs to interpret and leverage the stakeholders’ expectations and come up with an expectation that you believe is suitable for your role. That might require some stakeholder management to make them understand what you are set to do, and what a reasonable expectation is. Select the right set of indicators of Improvement, Innovation, and Investment, and measure them effectively; also include a broad range of monitoring, performance measurement.

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