The CIO needs to Fuse Business and IT

The CIO needs to Fuse Business and IT - Innovation ExcellenceIn the past twelve months or even more, I think there have been some exceptional reports and thinking coming out of Deliotte’s group, from its dedicated practice centers, their University Press and the Deliotte Consulting LLP, mostly from the US practice.

I would regard their thought leadership as close to the top or even at the very top of any of the big consulting firms for exploring technology and helping to align innovation.

The CIO needs to become the Chief Integration Officer and a catalyst for change

As they point out in the Deloitte Tech Trends 2015 report, technology continues to transform existing businesses and their business models; the need is for the CIO function to evolve rapidly into a key for integrating these significant changes occurring into the core of the business mission.

The CIO’s need is to be the driving force of “intersecting” all that is needed to work in this rapidly connecting world.

Business strategy and technology cannot be separated, they need to be constantly harnessed and balanced as never before, in feasibility, resolving complexity and managing all the risks associated with the changes unfolding, leveraging all the potential of the existing with designing and exploiting the disruptive aspects coming daily at a business.

The level of collaboration and cooperation between all C-Level executives to the CIO is absolutely essential to respond in dramatically different ways than the past, it needs to radically be seen as a collaborative partnership not in adversarial ways, as often in the past.. IT has such a transformation role to play but it has to firstly ‘transform’ itself.

Overcoming political resistance and organizational inertia is critical for the CIO, starting with his own team

The following was a shorten checklist of suggestions offered for the changes that are needed to be brought into the CIO’s thinking, from initially getting their house in order and then being recognized as critical to shaping the business future:

* Work more like a venture capitalist by adopting a portfolio management approach.

* Provide visibility into the IT “balance sheet” for an understanding the assets and how they align to strategic priorities in projects, hardware and software, data, contracts, vendors and partners.

* Organize assets to address business priorities by striving for operational excellence by mastering that capability by delivering on what is needed and then that moves the needle to earn the right to help shape the business transformation.

* Focus on flexibility and speed to advance agility, responsiveness, being adaptive in experimentation and innovation.

Link the potential of tomorrow to the realities of today in the following suggested ways:

  • Create a deliberate mechanism for scanning and experimentation
  • Rapidly vetting and prototyping new ideas and optimizing for return on assets.
  • Build a culture within the team and those associate that encourages failure by learning
  • Think big, start small, learn and leverage fast and then scale quickly
  • Collaborate to solve tough business problems
  • Tapping into diverse thinking, assets and entities
  • Actively engage with business peers to influence their view of the CIO role
  • Focus on delivering on the promise of service predictability, reliability and efficiency’ as and when’
  • Serve as the connective tissue to all things technology, linking the various initiatives
  • Advocating platforms instead of point solutions, keeping adaptive and flexible
  • Design continuously the architecture and its integration in optimal ways.
  • Deliver ‘prime time’ to the business units the security, scalability and reliability.

Grabbing the present and future opportunity that technology is delivering

The ownership of a digital strategy is somewhere where the CIO can be and often is accountable for and needs to show a decisive position on that embraces all the present and future business needs. It’s design touches increasingly on every corner of the organization, increasingly in mission critical ways and its capability to deliver on time, in the right way is absolutely essential.

Technology needs to be elevated from personal, sometimes entrenched positions, into a comprehensive plan, recognized for its grasp, perception, understanding and knowledge of what the business requires. The managing of this really vital strategic asset, one of establishing efficient operations that can effectively do their job but equally lay in the foundations for the organization to respond to breaking and planned opportunities to grow the business effectively, as and when required is no easy task, it needs deep understanding and be conducted in a highly collaborative environment.

It is the CIO who needs to step up and takes on this challenge as the chief integration officer but he needs his colleagues to see he has at his disposal the tools, structures, solutions and architecture to deliver on the promise.

Solving the moment, delivering the future

There has never been a more defining time for the CIO to step up and fundamentally deliver on the promise of technology, by connecting an organization and aligning its parts into a cohesive whole. One that leverages ‘all things’ available to take the business forward in strategically valuable ways as well as operationally effective ones, to grow its sustaining value in how it functions, responds and adapts in our rapidly changing and challenging world.

Will it happen, it certainly needs too, the frictions often seen in the past has to be put well-behind all, as the organizations future is even more at stake than ever.

image credit: openfor.business

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Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Find him @paul4innovating

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