Rapid business change combined with the increasing importance of technology across all aspects of business operations have raised the profile of the CIO role—as well as the challenges.
And with close to half of all current CIOs now in their 50s and 60s, the coming decade will see not just significant changes to this role, but also to the backgrounds and perspectives of the people coming into those jobs.
Summarizing the report’s findings for InformationWeek, Jessica Davis writes that the report provides a “snapshot of (today’s) CIOs…(along with) insights into the technologies their organizations regard as essential today” and offers a close “look at what’s on the minds of these key executives.”
Over the past few decades, organizations have applied technology primarily to reduce costs. Faster computers, instantaneous global communications, and specialized software for every business function have dramatically improved productivity and driven costs out of the value chain.
But the days of cost reduction as the primary focus of IT may have ended. As noted here a year ago, “improving the effectiveness of business processes” has replaced reducing costs as the top concern of IT leaders.
As the mission of IT is transformed from driving out costs to driving business model innovation, IT’s profile is raised as well. Per the BPI research, almost two-thirds (65%) of enterprises “say technology has become ‘far more important’ to their organizations in the past five years. Another 28% see it as ‘somewhat’ more important.” Continue reading “How Service Catalogs Help Enterprise IT Innovation”
Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare? “Slow and steady wins the race”? Econ 101 lectures about economies of scale? Business truisms like “Nobody ever got fired for buying…” (insert any large, established vendor name here)?
Such nuggets of business wisdom seem to no longer apply. Today, in the words of author Jason Jennings, “It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.” Competitive advantage comes from reworking business processes and service delivery models to improve speed not by 10% or even 100%, but by multiples. Consider:
According to a recent Financial Times story by Lisa Pollack, “A Berlin company, founded in 2013, built an online service that allows new customers to open a bank account in under eight minutes…The company, Number26, has signed up more than 30,000 customers after launching what it deems ‘Europe’s most modern bank account’ in January.”
It’s easy to bash the IT department; to deride it as the land of no and slow, a roadblock rather than a resource, a group it’s easier to work around than to work with when addressing urgent and rapidly changing business needs.
But given the current and on-the-horizon risks of digital disruption of business models (example: one-hour photo shops were a rapidly growing business in 1988, but their numbers have plunged from more than 3,000 shops across the U.S. in 1998 to less than 200 today) from developments like 3D printing, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT), technology is playing a bigger role than ever in businesses of all kinds.
That makes IT’s role more vital than ever. Practices, processes, and in some cases even attitudes need to change, to be sure, but now is the time to engage IT, not hate it. Forward-thinking companies like Nordstrom and Starbucks—while not “technology companies”—are embracing IT internally and externally to improve both operational efficiency and the user experience for customers and employees alike.
According to a recent study by the CIO Executive Council, poor communication is resulting in “a state of crisis between IT and non-IT employees, which could prove disastrous” in the current environment of unprecedented digital disruption.
Writing in CIO magazine, Brendan McGowan details the research findings. IT leaders recognize that building trust and credibility across their organizations is critical, but most acknowledge significant shortcomings in their groups’ communication abilities.
Every large organization—whether a university, business, non-profit, government agency, or other entity—develops processes over time to enable employees to obtain the products and services necessary to do their jobs. But too often, these processes vary based on the service needed, the department that provides it, or even the worker’s location. Employees are forced to navigate a maze of forms, online systems and request processes, leading to frustration and wasted time.
“A unified service catalog provides a single common framework and approach for delivering services across the institution — a one-stop-shopping approach that enables customers to efficiently submit their requests.”
Project glitches—and sometimes even outright failures—are unfortunately common. But they are by no means inevitable.
According to CIO Insight, “45 percent of large IT projects go over budget, while delivering 56 percent less value than promised.” Yet many of the frequent causes of project setbacks are well understand and can be avoided with proper planning and execution.
Based on research compiled by Dennis McCafferty, here are 10 common sources of project management problems, along with guidance on how to avoid each, illustrated with the example of implementing an enterprise request management (ERM) strategy.
The tsunami of change washing over the landscape for CIOs can perhaps best be summed up by the phrase “digital enterprise”—a catchall term encompassing the fundamental redesign of business processes to adapt to big data, the Internet of Things, the consumerization of IT, cloud computing, and other developments.
The movement is nearly universal: in a recent Altimeter Group survey, 88 percent of “digital strategy executives interviewed said their organizations are undergoing formal digital transformation efforts this year.”
And there is no shortage of opinion about how this is reshaping and expanding the responsibilities of CIOs: a Google search for “CIO role digital enterprise” yields more than 920,000 results.