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Posts Tagged ‘CIO’

Will you shape the vision?

IT is like business engine, CIOs are accountable for critical part of business that is constantly changing and evolving. Contemporary CIOs should be capable of evolving leadership skills to not only match pace with the changes in technology and the pace at which organization can effectively manage these changes, but also proactively drive changes in business transformation.

Shape the Vision: CIO and his/her team can play a large role in shaping a vision of the firm as a place where passionate individuals want to connect with and learn from one another. CIO offices also have a significant responsibility to choose and deploy the IT that will help their firms realize the vision. Simply put, IT can no longer just be about numbers and algorithms; it has an opportunity to be a significant catalyst for passion and a tool for encouraging questing and connecting the innovation dots.

Ignite Passion: The range of technologies have emerged that can help foster a deeper sense of connection and purpose in employees, ignite latent worker passion and bring together disparate parts of the organization. But these new tools also necessitate a new way of thinking, a creative way to do things and a flexible way to work smartly.

Set Evolution: The emergence of the CIO coincided with the birth of the PC and end user computing. That role certainly matured as the Internet age unfolded. Now, it’s social, mobile, consumerization of IT, Big Data and a major shift in how IT services are delivered (cloud). These changes are inspiring spiritual conversations around the role of the CIO, these are all evolutionary and in some ways even predictable.

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What is your new ecosystem?

The need for change is obvious. The CIO as change agent not only touches his/her own function, but also need make influence on entire organization and business ecosystem as well, it takes strategic planning, methodology and practice in orchestrating such transformation. This is a big deal. If the business isn’t strategic it will be impossible for technology to be strategic as well.

Define Roadmap: In fact, the required changes, at the most fundamental level, need be well documented. A clearly defined roadmap is available, and industry best practices are in place to serve as a framework upon which the solution can be implemented over time. The transformation to a more proactive service/solution delivery organization with repeatable management processes in place of the ‘crisis of the day’ leadership model, can be a reality, but only if the CIO is the proactive, visible and charismatic sponsor.

Optimize Process: Meanwhile, to compete, business unit leaders need IT to ensure the availability and reliability of their business process automation tools/technology, so their staff can function as efficiently as promised, back when they justified the tool purchase. In fact, many organizations have little insight into their cost structures and who is consuming the assets. They have no idea where they are spending their money on and often assume it is mainly being spent on items which are actually much lower on the list. Every IT finance group can capture costs but the challenge is to have visibility and traceability between costs and the assets consuming those costs. The leadership team needs IT to be the business process optimization expert for the company, to find creative sources for competitive advantages, to better compete.

Ask for Help: One of the first things a CIO must do in a transformation initiative of this magnitude is to ask the business for help. The effort will fail if the business units are unwilling to invest resources and accept a “period of pain” where service levels may be adversely impacted. CIO can envision themselves talking with business unit leaders, selling them on the challenges and the vision for the future. Will CIO be open to new perspective, willing to adapt the new skill set to the demands of evolving technology or adapt their role to the evolving business requirements for technology? Will CIO be learning agile to understand business ecosystem and connect innovation dot cross-functional, cross-industrial and cross-cultural border? It takes both attitude and aptitude.

As CIO, is your best business partner the CMO?

November 13, 2012 1 comment

When CMOs and CIOs collaborate, the relationship puts the business at a competitive advantage. Technology provides the muscle to make sense of the explosion of data now at our fingertips, as well as the tools that can interpret those results to better discover what customers want. When the CMO and CIO share a focus on the customer, the power to drive business growth is potent.

Better insight from customers can drive serious growth in our companies, at least according to a recent study by IBM of over 1700 CEOs. But today, acquiring and interpreting customer data inherently must involve both the marketing and IT departments. In fact, recent research conducted by the CMO Council, suggests that this process should start with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

One of the key challenges CMOs face is figuring out how to partner with other internal functions. But given that today’s CMO is often the main connection between the consumer and the company, a strong relationship with the CIO can allow them to leverage technology to better understand those customers.

And although there are a myriad of analytical tools for generating this kind of information, CMOs are struggling to convert data into consumer insight they can use. A recent study (also from IBM) indicates that more than 70% of CMOs feel they are underprepared to manage the explosion of data and “lack true insight.”

With this in mind, there is a growing need to identify how CMOs and CIOs can use the technology that’s on-hand to ease this process — which will ultimately drive growth for the entire business. Below are four suggestions for building this power partnership in your company.

Find Common Ground – Differing incentives is one of the biggest barriers to an effective relationship between marketing and IT.

“There is an interesting intersection between risk management and innovation that emerges in the CMO-CIO interface.” ~~Gene Morphis, former CFO of CVS and David’s Bridal 

It’s the ultimate intersection between those who are often tasked with driving change, innovation, and revenue growth (marketing) and those who need to ensure that there aren’t any issues or risk with technology, information, and systems (information technology). It’s up to the CEO to ensure that marketing and IT are on the same page in terms of both innovation goals and risk management.

The best way to overcome this kind of incongruence is to start by understanding — and respecting — the conflicting incentive structures of each department and working collaboratively to find common ground. In some instances, it may be necessary to align the CEO on a plan, but a united recommendation between the CMO and CIO has a better of chance of success.

Put Business Needs First, Infrastructure Second – While it seems intuitive, companies often mistakenly focus first on creating the infrastructure, and then focus on figuring out what to do with the data afterwards. David Norton, the prior CMO of Caesars Entertainment, suggests that “data infrastructure should follow an understanding of the business questions. For example, something as simple as deciding how to look at the data — hourly, daily, weekly — can influence how you organize the data.” If the CMO works with the CIO to outline the data that they need to understand customers, the CIO can better ensure that the data infrastructure will be aligned with ultimate business needs.

Understand the Customer Holistically – Data can spring from a number of places: loyalty cards, purchases, social media behavior, website analytics, surveys, etc. And new technology can integrate these disparate sources of customer-related information. But this is a barrier for most companies.

“The challenge that we find with most of our clients is that they do not have the internal capability or bandwidth to focus on integrating customer data to generate superior insight. Yet, this assimilated perspective is precisely what is necessary to move ahead of the competitor’s level of customer understanding.” ~~Dr. R. Sukumar, CEO of a fact-based research and consulting firm

Even when firms effectively get a holistic customer view, they often lack the staff or bandwidth to act on it quickly. This is why they frequently turn to external partners to help fill the skill gaps needed to integrate, analyze, and use insight to drive business results. These external partners typically have the technology and expertise needed to successfully generate and leverage in-depth customer data.

Apply Tools that Everyone Can Use – Historically, data analysis and customer research has been reserved for only a few skilled employees (typically in marketing research) who can navigate technically sophisticated systems. But now emerging are technology-enabled reporting portals that enable multiple users in marketing — even the tech novices — to analyze customer research themselves. For example Dr. Sukumar’s company, Optimal Strategix, is one of many that has developed such a universal tool, and he agrees, “Gone are the days when marketers had to get their information from a PowerPoint presentation that marketing researchers or consultants provided.” The CMO now has the ability to be more hands-on with the customer information that is typically reserved for the CIO’s team.

How comfortable are you at participating in business strategy conversations?

September 6, 2012 1 comment

The job of a CIO is a tough one. Understanding and being able to communicate highly technical concepts in plain business language isn’t easy. We all recognize that strategic planning is probably the most important thing we do. How good are we at it?

The business world today is extremely complex. Increased globalization; heightened merger activity; competition from nontraditional sources; shortened product life cycles; and a tightened regulatory environment are just a few of the items affecting a company’s strategic plan. Information technology can affect all of these things… and more.

In addition, many companies use technology as the strategic weapon necessary to survive in the fierce competitive environment. It is the job of the CIO to understand all of the aspects of the marketplace in which the company participates to help it effectively use information technology to address these challenges.

How comfortable are you at participating in business strategy conversations? A great question to think seriously about.

Is Information Technology a support area?

August 31, 2012 2 comments

Is Information Technology a support area? The traditional, “keep the lights on” world of technology just won’t cut it anymore. Of course everyone expects their laptop to boot up and connect to the network. No one even thinks about it until it won’t.

Our business partners expect more. They want us to be strategic. They expect us to know their goals, strategies and can capabilities. The want to know how technology can help them generate more revenue.

And so a revolution is under way. We aren’t the guys who “make the trains run on time” department. Or at least, we shouldn’t be.

In today’s world, the technology department cannot just be seen as a support area. It must be seen as a critical part of the business. It’s up to the CIO to drive that point home by positioning himself or herself as a strategic partner—with a distinct set of skills and tools at his or her disposal. Take the time to talk to employees that use technology regularly to really understand how they use it. Listen to business line leaders about what their people want and need to succeed—and explain how new systems can enable them to meet those goals.

via IT Implementation Depends Upon CIOs With Social Skills – The CIO Report – WSJ.

What kind of business technology scorecard do you use?

July 1, 2012 2 comments

I have been working with Nigel Fenwick at Forrester Research to transform my Business Technology focus. He suggest to me that I use a new framework for our balanced scorecard. It made sense so I have transformed our senior management performance standards for this fiscal year.

I highly recommend the approach Nigel is advocating for in his blog. He has some great visuals in it as well.

It’s time to re-think the report card used by CIOs to report on BT performance – tomorrow’s BT CIOs must look beyond the traditional IT Balanced Scorecard (BSC).

I realize this is sacred ground for many people in IT (and some of my colleagues here at Forrester), so let me explain myself before I receive a barrage of complaints. The philosophy behind Business Technology (BT) recognizes technology as integral to every facet of every organization – as such, IT is very much an integral part of the business; we can no longer talk about “business” and “IT” as if referring to two distinct things. I’m suggesting that in the age of BT, we need a new scorecard that better reflects the impact of BT on the business.

via Does BT Need A New Report Card? | Forrester Blogs.

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