5 Ways For CIOs To Become (Much) More Important

by drjim on September 29, 2010

It's Not Easy To Get To The Top Of IT!

It’s Not Easy To Get To The Top Of IT!

Once you become the CIO you’d think that you’ve have it made. Now that you are living at the top of the IT pyramid, life should be grand – the long, hard struggle to reach this position is now over. Actually, the job is just beginning. What you need to do now is to find ways to make sure that the CIO becomes a (more) important part of your company’s success. Here are some suggestions for how you can make this happen.

It’s All About The Cloud

Just as much as the next guy, I hate to jump on the “what’s trendy in IT” bandwagon; however, it’s really starting to look as though this cloud computing thing is here to stay. Looks like you’re going to have to come up with ways to work it into your IT department’s strategy.

The key thing for you to do is to understand why it’s so important. Cloud computing offers the CIO the ability to kill two birds with one stone: you have the ability to reduce your IT costs while at the same time allowing the company to expand its IT footprint. Opportunities like this don’t come along often enough and so you had better jump on it while it’s available to you.

Flipping the 80/20 Rule

When you become the CIO, one of the first things that you’re going to discover is just how little money you have to spend. Oh, your IT budget might be huge and it may be growing larger every year, but the size of the funds that are actually available to you to spend on new projects and new initiatives is probably quite small by comparison.

So where’s all the money going? In a nutshell, most of your IT budget is going to be spent just keeping the lights on – maintenance on all of those embedded applications that run the company today. This has got to change.

As CIO you are going to have to get your sharp budget knife out and start making cuts. Any IT support functions that don’t contribute to moving the company forward need to be moved from the inside to the outside. Free up more IT budget for transformation projects and everyone will view you as the best CIO ever.

Growing The Business / Growing The Customer

Although you don’t often hear about the CIO being talked about in the same sentence that revenue growth is mentioned, this is what you need to make happen. The reason the business exists is to generate more money, the IT department has to play a role in this or it becomes unnecessary.

Make sure that you don’t do what some CIOs have done and go out and start selling your own products. The role of IT is to support what the company does. IT’s contribution to the company’s top line revenue should be a result of how it helps other departments become more efficient.

Following Business Processes From End-To-End

The role of CIO is unique in the company: you actually have very few restrictions on what you are permitted to do. This is a fantastic gift that you need to take advantage of.

With the ability to follow a process from where it starts in the company to where it ends, a CIO can find things that nobody else can: waste, miscommunications, opportunities for automation, etc.

Introducing Business Intelligence

Most businesses do a good job of collecting lots of data on how the business is running. Very few businesses do a good job of using the data that they’ve collected.

The CIO has an opportunity to implement business intelligence solutions that can provide the rest of the company with new insights. This type of value add is exactly what the rest of the company needs their CIO to do for them.

What All Of This Means For You

When you become CIO, the real work is just starting. You are going to have to be constantly looking for ways to add value to the rest of the company.

There are many ways for you to do this. Some rely on technology such as how best to use cloud computing or implementing business intelligence solutions. However, more of them have to do with the business side of IT: maximizing your IT budget and improving the company’s end-to-end business processes.

CIOs that focus on improving the company’s revenues will be spending their time wisely. By doing so, they’ll create an opportunity to hang around and do even greater things in the future…

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How do you think that a CIO can discover what the company’s end-to-end business processes are?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The time has never been better to make an impact in the success of your company as the CIO. However, there are a lot of different things that can conspire to distract you from tacking the tasks that really need your attention. Here’s a list of 5 items that should be on every CIO’s to-do list…

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