It is widely accepted now, that information technology plays a major role in bringing about cost efficiencies and helping corporations to do more at less cost. This has been amply demonstrated in North America in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis when despite drop in consumption; the bottom line of companies not only stayed healthy but has improved. All this should have lead to be an increase of the profile and importance of the global CIO. However, what we hear and see are CEOs and CFOs taking all the credit and hogging the limelight with hardly a mention of the CIO. Why?
In most companies, the CIO although is accepted as the technology guide to a company, he often finds himself sidelined, inadequately consulted when major business decisions are taken. Maybe there is a case for the CIO to take a relook at his role and perhaps widen his skill sets or even to do a reset to his thinking.
The modern day CEO is a techno savvy leader who expects the CIO to take the weight off his shoulders when it comes to selecting the right technology for the company. The CEO is just too busy providing the leadership and direction to the company and is often desperate for a reliable work sharing partner. He already has, in the CFO, a work partner who takes care of the finances and balance sheet of the company. With technology playing a critical role in business, he wants the CIO to come up to speed and handle the technology component of business independently.
It is with this intent, IT professionals with great capability and understanding of technology are appointed as the CIO of a company. These skills are deployed to select the best in class applications, networks, and solutions at the lowest cost for the company. But the CIO often gets too bogged down in his technology world forgetting that the very purpose of induction of technology in an organization is to improve business results.
Integration of business and IT is a complex exercise. How such integration is achieved by the CIO in a real life situation is presented below. The components could differ from industry to industry but the essentials are common. The business and IT integration paradigm model is based on a real life example of a multinational corporation based out of the US. The CIO, in this case, is a critical and significant member of the decision making team.
An organization brings about operational efficiency and excellence by focusing on four key components of a company:
- Productivity enhancement through process improvement and adopting new technologies
- Standardization and simplification of operational processes
- Integration of multiple components to ensure better coordination with internal and external stakeholders
- Human resource management and development
IT plays a critical role in each of the above mentioned four components. The four components when they work together seamlessly result in achieving higher business results, productivity and improved business results.
BUSINESS- IT INTEGRATION OPERATING PARADIGM
MODEL FOR A TECHNO BUSINESS CIO
ORGANIZATION BUSINESS VISION AND BUSINESS STRATEGY
Productivity enhancement via process improvement
|Creating lean organization and lean processes||
Building organization IT strategy and align with available IT budgets
|Bringing about year to year cost reduction|
Simplify, standardize and replicate
|Assist in process simplification and standardization across operational units|
|Identify enterprise wide applications|
|Align IT computing infrastructure keeping future needs in mind|
Partner for growth
|With departments for integrated working|
|With business units for synergy|
|With suppliers to maximize value|
Innovate and Inspire
|Align with leadership to understand evolving business drivers|
|Solutioning to retain quality manpower|
The CIO seeks to integrate company business requirements and strategies with available technology solutions. In order to do so, he interacts with the key business stakeholders, understands what ticks them, what are the pain points and based on this internal requirement analysis prepares an IT strategy that he implements organization wide. In many ways the CIO acts both as a business and technical consultant to business.
Such a role will require him to understand, strategise and create a business and an IT architecture that is put up before the IT service providers who in turn then come up with the best solution available with them. When he does that he finds his voice getting heard and he starts feeling good about himself and his role. Many a global CIO have achieved this self transformation and others can follow in their footsteps.