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June 5, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 11:32am

Top 10 tips for CIOs and the boardroom

New report highlights misalignment of C-Suites and CIOs in the digital shift.

By Ben Sullivan

One of the most disruptive forces affecting organisations today is that of the digital shift. As legacy business models fall redundant and firms look towards their C-Suites for answers, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a position which forms a lynchpin for many organisations looking to achieve successful digital transformations.

A new report, written by Prof. Joe Peppard of the European School of Mangement and Technology and sponsored by Sunguard Availability Services, looks at how the CIO needs to be more aligned with the rest of the C-level, and how to accelerate digitisation by cultivating the right conversations with CIOs and the C-Suite.

"In most organisations, the CIO with [their] team work to translate objectives and requirements – what some CIOs refer to as ‘the wish list’ – into a coherent strategy and then create a portfolio of potential projects and programmes from this," reads the report.

"This has never been satisfactory and CIOs, in particular, have always known this. Yet, many have found it very difficult to get colleagues from the business side to engage with them in this process of building the ICT investment portfolio."

Keith Tilley, executive VP EMEA & APAC, Sungard Availability Services said: "It has become increasingly evident that aligning people, processes and business availability should be seen as a strategic driver that helps to secure tangible business outcomes. However, collaboration is still too weak, with Sungard AS’ research revealing that only 42% of UK organisations breed a culture in which interdepartmental collaboration is actively encouraged."

From the report, CBR has taken ten tips that attempt to give guidance to the C-Suite and alignments it can make with the CIO.

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1) Not knowing anything about ICT is no longer a badge of honor. And just because you are not a millennial is no excuse.

2) Don’t see ICT as something separate from your core business. Whether you like it or not, your business is a digital business where ICT is integral to its success.

3) Place ICT at the heart of your business agenda. Recognise that ICT is potent competitive weapon.

4) Place the CIO on the senior management team. They will be an invaluable allay.

5) Keep abreast of the capabilities of new technologies; you can’t have meaningful conversations with the CIO if you don’t. Take time to learn about the capabilities (and not the technicalities) of technologies like the cloud, mobile, sensors and social media. The CIO can help you here and provide valuable coaching.



6) Don’t abdicate the digital agenda or the mandate for digital transformation to the CIO. The CIO has a key role but so too does the whole C-Suite. Partner with your CIO to map out the digital transformation agenda. Work together to identify tangible ways to further embed ICT in the business.

7) Recognise that while distribution channels and the interface with customers receive most attention from media reports, the greatest bottom line impacts may actually come from operational improvements.

8) Engage with your CIO in an on-going and continuous conversation. Technology can often inform what’s possible for the business – it can shape strategy.

9) Look to rethink the budgeting process. In most organisations there is a budget for IT, which includes CapEx and OpEx and typically falls within the remit of the CIO. Consequently, spending on ICT is seen as the CIOs budget. Remember, the CIO spends money on behalf of the organisation for the achievement of benefits, so the budgeting process should reflect this.

10) Promote partnership with the line of business, overcome resistance to change, and drive digital literacy across the organisation.

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