Dear CEO: IT Needs More Than Your Executive Goals
Your CIO has heard you loudly and clearly - you want innovation, digital transformation, readiness for full integration of IoT, real cybersecurity, seamless operations, complete mobility & interoperability, and, by the way, find a way to reduce the IT budget by 10 percent.
Oh! Yes! Your CIO also understands that this all needs to happen within two or three quarters - ideally. Oh, one more thing... "please make sure you are all working together...CMO, COO, CFO, CSO so that there are no conflicts that could hinder the CEO's initiatives".
So, your CIO scrambles, outsources, hires, fires, consolidates, pushes more to the cloud, re-designs the architecture, compromises with COO, argues with CFO, and makes pacts with CMO, all in an attempt to meet as many of your executive goals and objectives as possible. He or she understands that you, CEO, do not have a strong appetite for risk, but just about everything that is being asked for is riddled with risk.
Before your IT team goes wandering in the wilderness by the fourth quarter, as the newly hired CIO ascertains what went wrong before, gets adjusted to the landscape, and learns how to work well with the new IT team, here are a few helpful tips to avoid the same scenario from happening again:
If your CIO understands what lies beyond your executive goals and you are able to thoroughly articulate the vision for the organization in a manner that delineates purpose, impact, and effect; then, your CIO will find ways to reach those goals very creatively - even when great challenges arise - and he or she will overcome the obstacles much more effectively. Your CIO will advocate on your behalf, once the vision is crystallized.
Clarity of purpose and vision naturally yield holistic decision-making, which is better suited for well-thought-out prioritization. Such across-the-board prioritization - done well and on the first try - can be leveraged as pillars of execution, upon which true alignment can be created, and the culture of the organization can sense consistency, congruence, and can trust the words of management.
All that glitters is not gold
Not all new, flashy, highly-reported, and sought-after technology advances are adequate for your organization. Many laughed at key global companies back in the day when they decided to bypass the initial client-server headaches, and continued to develop their own code and maintain their mainframes. It seemed so retrograde. Wisdom, however, was evidenced by waiting for the appropriate time to transform and innovate, as the organization as a whole could withstand it, and as it happened to be pertinent to how much value it would add to their services or products at that time. The winners relied on well-thought-out and more sophisticated transformation formulas, and not so much on jumping on the first fancy bandwagon.