New Name For CIOs: Strategic Execution Officer

CIOs Need To Learn To Manage Wild IT Projects<p>(c) - 2007</p>
CIOs Need To Learn To Manage Wild IT Projects(c) - 2007

In order to complete in a global economy that is moving faster every day, more and more firms are committing to implementing those really BIG process digitization projects. More often than not the CIO will find himself / herself in charge of not only the implementation of the new software application, but also the overall success of the project. How do you go about doing that?

What Goes Wrong With Big IT Projects

We all know the statistics – most big IT projects are not successful. However, the key question is why? It turns out that all too often the issue is not with the new process automation technology that is being implemented, but rather with the management challenge that comes along with a project like this.

The reason that managing a large transformational IT project is so hard is because the CIO also needs to be finding ways to drive the new business process changes that will be required once the new systems have been installed. It turns out that nobody likes change!

What Doesn’t Work?

It seems as though IT departments have been trying since the beginning of time to find a way to tackle this two-headed IT project beast. One approach has been to give responsibility for the success of the project to an executive governance committee. It turns out that this type of committee does an excellent job of defining the strategy for implementing the changes that will be needed, but does a lousy job of executing it.

Another approach has been to create an IT task force to implement this type of change. They generally do a good job of getting the new application up and running, but they lack the wide-ranging authority to cause other parts of the company to change how they are doing their jobs.

What Does An IT Strategic Execution Officer Do?

If the CIO is willing to step up and tackle leading both sides of a major IT process automation project, just what do they have to do? There are three fundamental tasks that they will need to deal with:

  • The implementation of the process automation application(s).
  • Making sure that the new technology gets adopted by the rest of the company.
  • Making sure that the new processes that the project has implemented start to get used by everyone.

Ultimately, the CIO will be filling the management / leadership gap that exists between coming up with the process automation plan and actually changing the company to use the project once its been implemented.

Final Thoughts

No CIO wants to take on more work – there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done as it is. However, ensuring that big IT projects get implemented correctly and that the company transforms its processes in order to use the new tool is the key to the company’s long term success.

This is a clear example of where a CIO gets to practice for his / her next job: becoming CEO. Nobody else will be as well positioned to implement cross-company changes. CIOs who can pull this off will have found a way to apply IT to enable the rest of the company to grow quicker, move faster, and do more.

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The basic job of a CIO is to ensure that a company’s IT infrastructure operates smoothly and allows the company to conduct business. On Monday, August 3, 2009, PayPal’s CIO failed at this most basic of jobs…