Sunday, 30 September 2012 00:00

Getting The CIO To The Table

Rate this item
(0 votes)

The lament echoes time and again, "The CIO should have a seat at the table." The claim continues that business cannot survive without the simplest of technologies. Then they provide evidence as if it would be the final nail in the coffin, "Just the other day, when email was down..." Raising my eyebrows in question, I ask, "So your email was down? For how long?" The question is like a scene from a horror film where the sudden realization is that the casket being completed is... your own. Gaining strategic respect is a long way away for those having trouble maintaining their tactical obligations. If your organization is having difficulty providing basic services, you will never have the privilege of being a partner with the business.

Get Your Affairs In Order

Do you want to read more?

Strategy, alignment, communication of goals is not easy. Our Vision To Value white paper talks about focusing your team on the key strategic corporate goals and ensuring everyone in your organization knows the direction.

The first on your agenda is creating reliable, cost-effective operations. If your customer wakes up in the morning wondering if they will have email, Internet, file security, or access to their documents when they show up for work, they will never trust you enough to be part of their strategy. It is no different for them and their customers. Whether their customers (ultimately yours) are buying dial tone, electricity, or insurance, if their business operations keeps your customers awake at night, your company will never gain the respect to be a strategic partner... or even stay in business. IT leaders, like your company's leaders, must flawlessly provide the basic infrastructure as if it were the company's life support system. After all, it is.

This attitude goes beyond applications, servers, and computers. It applies to delivering initiatives, too. If your ability to deliver a project is either reckless or overburdened with bureaucracy, you will look equally incompetent. Lightweight processes staffed with business savvy, experienced professionals who can deliver solutions are a must.

Lose Your Baggage

Let us face it, networks, router, firewalls, storage, phone systems, computers, and the like are all commodities. So are email servers, CRMs, and other easy-to-put-in-the-cloud applications. Ask yourself why you still insist on having those in-house. Focus your time and energy on building what the business needs and forget the utilities. After all, does IT need to generate its own electricity? I would hope that the only need is emergency generators and those are under the auspices of facilities. In the early twentieth century, electricity was high-tech, as email, web-servers, firewalls, router, and sub-nets were in the early twenty-first—a mere dozen years ago. Today, all are commodities of the same degree. Treat them as such and free your technology shop to support the business.

Offer to Participate

You can uniquely provide value to your business by providing both technical and non-technical solutions addressing their strategic goals. Few, if any, outside vendors know your business better than you do. Once your customer accepts that you can reliably and efficiently deliver on your promises, you have earned the right to participate by using this knowledge to help them build their business. As mentioned in the past, there are no IT projects. Information technology supports the business. Start by forming delivery knowledgeable teams that can be involved in annual business planning. Develop guidance teams, some consisting of only a project manager and an architect, who are resident with the business throughout their planning cycles.

Everyone overestimates the benefits of technology while vastly underestimating the effort of implementing it. This is never more evident than during the excitement of innovation while creating great plans for the coming year. In the absence of implementation expertise, people attempt to create technical solutions—solutions that sound great, but are limited by lack of experience. The guidance team's job is to focus on understanding "how" to build a solution and keeping the business' spotlight on "what" must be built. This is a huge step in improving project delivery success by starting projects with teams aligned on strategic objectives and eliminating preconceived solutions.

Lead IT And You Will Lead The Business

Leading the IT group, making it smaller, more agile, and focused on delivering business value is what opens the door to being at "the table." To take the final step through the C-Suite door, your organization must be able to stay ahead of the business in applying technology that will make strategic changes to the business. These are not simple changes, but paradigm shifts allowing them to pull ahead of the competition. Shedding the shackles of utility maintenance, perfecting initiative delivery, and building an architectural group to lead the company into the future (rather than implementing technical toys), will make your IT group one that the business invites to the table, ensuring they explore the proper strategic paths.

More in this category:
Previous post
Read 6717 times

Leave a comment

Related items

  • The Catch-22 of Organizational Change Management

    "Kotter, ADKAR, or CAP which methodology should we be using to build our approach to improving project adoption?" I hear this question repeatedly from people trying to implement an organizational change management (OCM) program. The problem is that is the wrong question. Take a perfunctory peek at any of the models and you will see that in the quest for an answer people have mistakenly jumped over the first few steps. It is a Catch-22; unless you already have an OCM process in place, you will most likely fail at implementing it. Putting one in place, however, is a change—one of the most difficult cultural transformations that your company will undertake. As a result, people jump to the solution stage, which is well down the change management process path (which, ironically they did not know since there was no procedure in place).

  • Project Inception - Designing Organizations For Success

    Buy it now!

    A failing project’s fate is destined long before assigning a project manager. Its doom is sealed from the time the customer envisions the idea. Traditionally, project inception is defined as when the customer comes to a solution provider (internal or external to their organization) asking for a product or service. In actuality inception is much earlier. It starts when someone says, “Wouldn’t be neat if I could...” From that point forward the customer’s exceptions are set, changed, and reset as the process of discovery refines the concept. The customer’s ideas change from what they want to what they need, while continually constrained and formed by the realities of an ever-changing business environment. Although people cite unrealistic expectations as major problem during inception, the constant change in expectations causes the real issue—misalignment. For project managers to make a significant difference in a project’s success, they must use a new paradig.

  • Strategic Alignment: The Key To Project Success

    Buy it now!

    Project success rates for many companies and government organizations are dismally low, yet executives never seem to look at the big picture. They continue to make adjustments in the way projects are run by addressing isolated problems. However, projects are part of a much larger system and should be addressed in that context. To do that, companies must define how their strategic plan will use people, projects, and technology to achieve their goals. This paper discusses one approach to make this happen.

  • Transforming Project Managers Into Project Leaders

    Buy it now!

    Project management has been accepted in many businesses as a discipline critical for continued growth. To improve project performance, companies have levied rules on how projects should be run, defined common reporting requirements for all projects, and pooled and shared their project management resources. Even with these functions, projects still struggle to meet the needs of the customer. In order to improve project outcomes, the way in which they are managed must change. Project managers must become leaders, paying more attention to soft skills, managing their stakeholders, and identifying solutions to organizational issues that are limiting project success. The following paper discusses techniques developed by the author to address these needs and improve project success rates.

  • Vision To Value: Creating Successful Projects Using Leadership

    Buy it now!

    Value: Rather than scope, schedule, and budget, value is the lynch-pin of project success. Although the former three constraints are key factors in project success, there is no guarantee that meeting these constraints will result in a positive outcome. Instead constantly tracking the value of the project and making adjustments to the triple constraints to attain sufficient value is critical. Arguably this is the project managers most critical deliverable in the project. It requires significant insight into the project’s customer and a thorough understanding of their needs versus their wants. Project managers have to be leaders (leading subordinates, leaders, and customers), be able to assign priorities based on a critical, objective view.

Rescue The Problem Project

Internationally acclaimed

Image of RPP

For a signed and personalized copy in the US visit the our eCommerce website.

Amazon logo
Flag of the United States Buy it in Canada Flag of the United Kingdom
Flag of Ireland Flag of Germany Flag of France
Flag of Italy Flag of the PRC
Flag of Japan
Book sellers worldwide.