As chief information officers (CIOs) continue to struggle with increasing demands on their time and the resources of their IT organisations, Gartner has identified six time-wasting practices that CIOs should avoid in order to focus on key priorities and maximise their value to the business.
Letting go or changing established behaviour is hard and often requires investing work to make it happen. According to John Mahoney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, “CIOs need ‘space to change’ and the best way to provide this space is to stop focusing on what no longer provides value.” Gartner’s ‘hit list’ advises CIOs to:
- Stop Being the Budget-Priority Police - Ensure that your IT organisation minimises boundary disputes when business units use technology, particularly if business units have control over discretionary spending. It's more important for CIOs to ensure that the enterprise uses technology effectively than to provide all the technology through their own IT organisations. Initial support and education may be needed so people can regulate their priorities.
- Stop Using Enterprise Architecture as a Command and Control Tool - Rigid standards and policies might make it easier to reduce risk in system changes, but this approach reinforces the traditional view that the IT organisation doesn't understand how the enterprise needs to respond quickly to business or market changes. Don't use architecture to control priorities and direct details of business applications; rather, use it to enable coherence.
- Stop Communicating Using IT Metrics; Focus on Business Performance - The focus should be on a manageable number of IT value indicators that are meaningful to business leaders. They should be linked to familiar business measures, such as business goals, business strategies or business processes, and should show the current status and progress to date. Ideally, these indicators should be jointly reported on with the appropriate business unit, or included in the business unit leader's dashboard.
- Stop the Proliferation of Applications, Infrastructure and IT Governance Committees - There's often a common, underlying cause of ill-disciplined enterprise decision making. The critical action to fix these problems is to create and repeatedly exploit a strategic portfolio of applications and infrastructure capabilities, with associated rationalisation of IT governance. This means using enterprise architecture and related mechanisms to ensure coherence.
- Stop Defining Services in Technical Rather Than Business Terms - The key recommendation is to simplify the number of services offered, bundle them into a logical group and describe services so they reflect user-based activities or processes — for example, "adding new employees," which might include a suite of services, including PC, telecom and mobile device support; or "Work space design and installation".
- Stop Wasting Time Apologising for Past Problems - Credibility requires building strong personal relationships. It means being politically smart, integrating IT objectives with enterprise objectives and anticipating business needs to deploy a predictable stream of technology that enables business solutions. Repeated apologies diminish that.