The 4 ways Companies handle IT – which type is your company?/HBR Blog Network


The Building Blocks of Successful Corporate IT/ R “Ray” Wang | August 2013

The job of Chief Information Officer has never exactly been easy. But massive disruptions in business models, technology, and the work force have been throwing up massive new challenges for CIOs and other technology leaders.

Their organizations face disruption from both traditional and non-traditional competitors, and constant change. If they work for a product company, it may be looking to services revenue for growth. If they work for a service firm, it’s probably seeking new revenue from information-based differentiation. Meanwhile, information-based businesses — which used to sell, you know, information — now sell outcomes and peace of mind. We are in the midst of a digital business transformation in all industries.

On the technology front, the CIO’s once-tight hold on the devices and software employees use has evaporated (except perhaps in the financial world, where regulation keeps legacy systems in place) as markedly better and more adaptable consumer tools have conquered the workplace.

Meanwhile, CIOs must cope with five generations of workers — digital natives, digital immigrants, digital vagabonds, digital voyeurs, and analog holdouts — must work side by side. These workers bring different values on how to work, where to work, what to work on, when to work, and even why they work.

Consequently, CIOs and business leaders with a technology focus face more cacophony and challenge than ever before. On the plus side, though, they can play an increasingly key role in orchestrating and driving overall organizational success. Despite outward differences by industry, organizational size, and geography, we’ve seen certain commonalities in those who successfully lead corporate IT amid rapid change. The persona of the next-generation CIO is evolving from Chief Infrastructure Officer through Chief Integration Officer and Chief Intelligence Officer to Chief Innovation Officer. Skill sets are changing and IT leaders must adapt or die (or at least go into another line of work).

Organizational DNA Determines Appetite for Pace and Extent of Change

Understand the three organizational building blocks

Many CIOs are of course already well aware of all this. Others in their organizations, however, are often less so. In our research and CXO panels, CIOs tell us there is a high correlation between organizational alignment and successful corporate IT. For a CIO or other technology leader to make the move successfully from infrastructure to innovation, three key building blocks must be in place.

  1. Organizational DNA. Market leaders and fast followers seek transformational change; cautious adopters and laggards dip their toe into incremental change. Market leaders and cautious adopters proactively seek change; fast followers and laggards take a reactive approach. (See accompanying chart.) CIOs in market leader and fast-follower organizations can move quickly and push for a great amount of change. In cautious adopters, the politics are trickier — but not impossible. And if you work for a laggard, good luck!
  2. Reporting structure. CIOs who belong to the executive management team can play the strategic role that’s key to success. As a member of executive management, a CIO can serve as both a utility and a strategic adviser to the business. Unfortunately, there’s a trend afoot to have CIOs report to the CFO, which relegates the position to a purely cost-centric, tactical role.
  3. Budget. At most corporations, infrastructure consumes anywhere from two-thirds to three quarters of the technology budget, leaving little over for integration, intelligence and innovation. Corporate IT success requires a reduction of infrastructure to 50% of the budget in order to fund the other, more forward-looking areas.

Having the right building blocks in place is essential to a CIO’s — and organization’s — success. Corporate boards should take note. It’s not just CIOs who need to evolve. Organizations need to change as well to ensure that their technology investments lead to successful corporate IT.

More blog posts by R “Ray” Wang

Advertisements

About Framework Marketing Group

Framework Marketing Group has access to and is able to provide a range of co-ordinated creative thinkers…as and when you need them. It’s a marketing communications company with a toolbox of resources able to be used on an “on-demand” basis. The focus is on communication tools that evaluate brand strategies and interpret consumer behaviour to ensure a consistent and practical brand communications programme. Specifically: 1. Build strategic marketing plans: Understanding market data so strategic marketing plans have practical outcomes and communications to target markets are effective. 2. Communication audits From analysis of all messages – understand how customers really think and then recommend improvements to messages and media channel selection 3. Brand evaluations Establish how robust the brand equity is with each target market so communications to them is relevant 4. Integrate all communication channels Recommend an effective mix of communication channels to achieve economies of scale timing and content compatibility 5. Interpret market research Understand and fix gaps in market knowledge for consumers, customers and staff 6. Sales strategies Develop sales strategies from a foundation of core marketing platforms so all communications to market are complementary to each other
This entry was posted in Communications trends. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s