It was great to be back at this year’s Gartner PPM and IT Governance Summit in London, an event which attracted over 400 attendees from across Europe, a great number of distinguished speakers and thought-leaders in the industry, and many organisations involved in PPM best practices.
This year I presented on the topic of Elevating the Role of the CIO to Strategic Business Partner. During my 35 years working in the IT industry I have seen a dramatic change in IT and in particular the role that IT has played in driving innovation and competitive advantage in organisations all over the world. But despite this (at times painful) transformation you may be surprised to find that in a recent survey that only 17% of CIOs responded as having secured a place on the executive board. What’s also of concern is that the perception that C-peers have of IT does not always match that of IT leaders.
The reality is that IT leaders have done a fantastic job over the years from an operational perspective (i.e. keeping IT systems up and running, managing people, delivering projects, keeping track on IT spend etc.). However, to make the leap from technology advisor to strategic business partner where a more operational focus needs to give way to something more strategic in nature, the CIO has to start acting as an information broker providing insights to help all parts of the business improve their decision-making and collaborating closely with other business leaders to enable and optimize related business processes.
To help make that transition CIOs should learn to translate ‘IT Data’ into ‘IT Investment Data’ and by that I mean understanding where the strategic and operational demands lie within the organisation, to focus IT on the projects that align to corporate goals and ultimately be able to shift resources from operations to strategic investing. By adopting a 6-step IT Investment Lifecycle approach (Capture Demand, Prioritise Projects, Invest on Business-based Goals, Deliver and Track Goals, Assess the Impact and Communicate across the Business – see my presentation below for more details) this model will allow you to radically alter the way IT is perceived by other business units and help IT evolve from a cost centre into a business services organization.