The High Ambition CIO

Moving towards a client-focused technology target state demands an IT leadership team that is acting and taking decisions consistent with the priorities of its’ clients. Shifting the focus from what maybe core competency for the IT to what your clients really need to sustain their business will require the high ambition IT leader to move from traditional comfort zones to an elevated level of leadership and focus.

Client Focus – IT maxims that define what the business really wants

It is useful to think of the business as a consumer (whether internal or external) and the role of IT is to increase the consumption of the IT assets by adding significantly better value (aligned services at reducing cost) to those consumers. The following four points are the key thrusts that can be termed ‘IT Maxims’ which I believe define an effective IT- Business relationship

  1. Partnership with IT to understand and successfully deliver change
  2. Focus on managing and driving down operational risks and how technology can accelerate this effort
  3. Improvement in end-user experience and productivity by technical support for cross business unit services
  4. Streamlined and integrated product support function that intercepts IT service failures before the user’s do and takes steps through proactive monitoring to isolate and insulate issues that can cause significant business service downtime or interruption

The future IT – doing more with less

Each of the above maxims can be further broken down to create goals and objectives which the higher ambition CIO or CTO should be driving to create value for the business and be an enabler. At its heart, these drivers must also touch on quality of service, risk management, operational agility and cost and efficiency to get traction and deliver on stated objectives. That’s a lot to swallow in one bite and in today’s cash-strapped businesses, investing in IT is possibly not seen as creating the biggest bang for buck, but that would be the wrong view given we operate in a more integrated, data driven world and this trend will only increase in pace and reach.

Codacity believe that what is needed is for IT leadership to assume front to back accountability for provisioned services as a partner to the business rather than the federated approach that is common today.  The High Ambition CIO will need to behave differently and operate more like a CEO with stronger contribution to business operation excellence and bottom line revenue generation by:

  • Ensuring all IT functions, front to back are right sized and appropriate to their business
  • Partnering with the business to define an IT-enabled business strategy
  • Supporting group-wide utilities like Treasury, Payments, Cash Management, Human Resources
  • Implementing a demand management process that is elastic in its ability to provide services with no significant cost increase or time to benefit
  • Providing TCO (total cost of ownership) transparency for IT-driven capital expense

Such a list as this could be the job description of any CIO/CTO but having the means to deliver it is the consistent problem that leaves many well-meaning IT leaders struggling to meet the expectations of their business – and themselves. It can reach the point where both stop reaching forward together on the ideal target state and retreat into their own boxes of separate business, separate IT agendas with no further discussion on how to be effective partners.

About Codacity Informatica Group

As a thought leader in enabling technologies, CIG can power your business transformation from ideation to execution and benefit delivery. We have more than 18 years of experience driving business change in many settings. We are ready to enable you today.