How CIOs Can Align Themselves to Their Company's Growth Strategy

 CIOs Align and Orchestrate Tech Toward Growth

CIOs Align and Orchestrate Tech Toward Growth

Your CEO is under growth pressure

Your investors, the board, employees, and all stakeholders look to their CEO to build a growth culture. A growing number of CIOs are reporting to their CEO.  This leads to a CEO who has lots of questions about how technology is helping the company grow.  A CIO that doesn’t have good answers is a CIO who needs to keep their job hunting skills current.  CIOs can no longer believe bringing function to the enterprise is sufficient, they have to help their CEO grow the business.  Remember, the CEOs find fall guys too, don’t let it be you.

Technology has moved to the center of business strategy

IT was something only key managers had access to long ago.  Later, it became distributed computing and most employees had access to higher productivity.  Fast forward a couple of decades and now technology delivers automation, scale, and efficiency for everyone.  If you want a person to do a job right, give them the right tools for the job.  If you want a company to be more efficient and enjoy speed, give it technology that enables the best methodologies through code - at scale.  The smart game is creating clear lines as to what is centralized and standardized.  Then, balancing this against empowering employee workflow.  A clear example of this goal is the rapid ascent of the cloud in companies that once thought everything had to be on premise.

Lead the platforms that lead you to transformation

Yes, I know.  Software platforms for the enterprise have been around for a while and some have a spotty history of success.  But enterprise software platforms are wonderful when properly executed and their level of ROI is rare. Was the problem the software?  Maybe.  But it’s just as likely it was the partner-integrator or organizational change management that was poorly executed that led to failure. We have to get one’s ducks in a row.  IT projects fail, they often end up costing a lot more than anticipated and take more time.  That is why your platform approach bodes the outcome.  Start with a transformative end in mind, secure the right partner and choose proven technology.  You will spend the next three years selling a vision internally.

You wanted to be transformative, right?  Think agile milestones, not waterfall, and get going.  Right now, in a large, multi-national company, it boggles the mind how much money ($millions) and time (months/years) is wasted on applications that don’t work well with each other and frustrate employees. Personally, I love platforms, having been involved with several over my career. My favorite enterprise software platform right now is ServiceNow (Enterprise Services Management).  You can actually get ServiceNow architects on your team to implement the platform through the professional services and software company, Crossfuze (has the highest customer satisfaction score for ServiceNow partners).

 CIOs walk the tight rope with limited resources such as time.

CIOs walk the tight rope with limited resources such as time.

Strategy:  Running from the engine room to the bow of the technology ship

As CIO, you have lots of spinning plates while walking the tightrope.  Internet of things, mobile computing, cyber security, digital marketing, replacing that ERP system and cleaning data across the enterprise.  And, oh look, more shadow IT.  I didn’t even mention the lack of adoption for that CRM system your company purchased two years ago that was thrown in your lap!  

Bottom line; CIOs often lack time, money, and talent to get everything done.  
News alert - you cannot and should not do it all at once.  Take a breath and prioritize with your team (and/or yourself) while setting a few high-impact expectations with the C-Suite.  Coach your team to think strategically and to drive achievable execution.  Give comfort to the C-Suite that your technology is in business strategy alignment.  Don’t carry the whole weight on your shoulders.  Yes, you need to know what is going on in the engine room.  More importantly, the company needs you on the bow of the ship advising the CEO on how to reach your growth destinations.