Sunday, December 02, 2007

The New CIO Leader

“Definitive work that sets the standards in the industry ”

Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis: The CIO Leader outlines the path the CIO must take to become that leader - and to deliver on the promise of IT to yield real, measurable, and bankable results. Its a really interesting read, another great book from Gartner setting the agenda that takes you through the demand and supply side of the CIO what to expect when facing challenges and growth, it the must have book for CIO and CEOs.

Extract from the introduction The Crossroads

“Two paths diverged in a wood… and I took the one less traveled.” —Robert Frost

Chief information officers today stand at a crossroads. The role of each CIO is inevitably changing, because of two perspectives on information technology (IT). On the one hand, there is the lingering disaffection with IT from the Internet bust, the technology capital spending overhang, the popular press’s assertion that IT is now irrelevant in discussions of competitive advantage, and the hysteria about IT jobs moving overseas. On the other hand, IT is gaining renewed interest for several reasons.

The global economy seems to be finally escaping the doldrums, and business executives are desperate for innovation. Additionally, the regulatory environment has put far more emphasis on the timeliness, completeness, and accuracy of corporate information. Finally, technology is playing a foundational, if not a central, role in virtually every product and service

Standing still is not an option—every CIO will follow one of two paths based on these perspectives. The path influenced by the view that IT is irrelevant to competitive advantage leads to a role that might be called chief technology mechanic, a role ultimately no more prestigious than that of factory floor manager. The other path, influenced by the view that IT is at the heart of every significant business process and is crucial to innovation and enterprise success, leads to a role we call the new CIO leader. The new CIO leader bears all the prestige, respect, and responsibility of other senior executive positions (in fact the position will be a not infrequent steppingstone to COO and CEO positions).

CIO Leaders - Top 10 Priorities

1. Laying the Foundation: Leadership

Leadership and management are different but complementary. Management is about execution. Leadership is about change, specifically influencing others to change. Leading through influence is critical for New CIO Leaders. They must lead their business colleagues by influencing their view of IT but without a formal base of authority or power. CIOs can't TELL their business colleagues what to do, but they can influence the decisions they make.

2. Understand the Fundamentals of Your Environment

CIO leadership falls into two categories — demand side and supply side leadership. The demand side is where you lead your business colleagues, helping to determine why, where and how IT will be used to meet business goals. The first aspect of demand side leadership is developing an intimate knowledge of the fundamentals of your environment — how your business operates, its past, current and expected future performance, its goals and strategies, its industry and competitors, etc. Without understanding your environment you can't lead effectively.

3. Create Your Vision

Leadership is about influencing change. To influence change you must have a vision for what change is necessary, what the future looks like. Your vision as CIO has to be grounded in an intimate knowledge of the persistent business needs of your organization. Only then will your vision for achieving business goals be useful and compelling to your business colleague

4. Shape and inform expectations for an IT enabled enterprise

There will always be more IT work to be done than resources allow. Therefore it is critically important to work with your business colleagues to develop appropriate expectations for the use of IT in your organization. To do so, you must achieve consensus on business needs, strategies, and endeavors and the guiding principles or IT maxims that will inform the inevitable trade-offs. Your business colleagues need to be intimately involved in this process so that they know, understand and approve of the guiding framework for decision making on the use of IT in your organization.

5. Create clear and appropriate IT governance

IT Governance is the secret weapon of successful New CIO Leaders. Good governance enables you to effectively weave together business and IT strategies and to consistently build credibility and trust. To do so, your governance styles and mechanisms must be matched to your environment and the expectations of your business colleagues. Your business colleagues must understand how specific decisions are made so that they trust the process and ultimately can be confident in the outcomes.

6. Weave Business and IT strategies together

An IT Strategy contains the key decisions about specific technology implementations over a defined period of time in areas like infrastructure, applications, and architecture. New CIO Leaders take a portfolio approach with their IT strategy, actively managing the strategy to assure balance and the achievement of business goals.

7. Busines a New IS Organisation

CIO leadership falls into two categories -- demand side and supply side leadership. New CIO Leaders not only lead on the demand side, with their business colleagues, but also on the supply side, leading the IS organization to meet the organization's goals and expectations. To meet these business-focused expectations, New CIO Leaders need an appropriately organized and focused IS organization. The New CIO Leader's IS organization must be leaner and more focused on business results by appropriately using strategic sourcing of IT services, by adopting process based working, and by using all the financial resources available to it.

8. Develop a High-Performing IS Team

For New CIO Leaders to succeed they need not only a new IS organization but a team that is appropriately skilled and committed to achieving business results. Just like you, your IS team needs new and different competencies to succeed. These new competencies are much more focused on strategic thinking and relationship building than on technical skills.

9. Manage Enterprise and IT Risk

New CIO Leaders are needed because IT is embedded in every critical business process in today's organizations. However, there is also significant risk associated with this state of affairs IT risks affect the whole enterprise. New CIO Leaders must proactively step up to manage the new enterprise risks related to IT and new regulatory environments.

10. Communicate Your Performance

Leadership depends on credibility and credibility is built on results. New CIO Leaders ensure that results are widely known and understood by communicating IS performance at every opportunity. They develop "dashboards" that allow business colleagues to see and understand the value received from IT in business terms.

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