2 Questions That Every CIO Needs To Be Able To Answer

by drjim on September 19, 2012

Image CreditCIO's need to keep an eye on their older IT systems…

CIO's need to keep an eye on their older IT systems…

What kind of CIO would you like to be: reactive or proactive? The definition of information technology tells us that we’d like to the proactive type of CIO. We’d like to sit around thinking about strategic next steps. However, often times life doesn’t work that way: we suddenly get issues thrown our way all the time. Here are two questions that you need to come up with answers for right now in order to prevent yourself from being surprised later on.

Is It Time For A New IT Business Model?

What business model are you using today to run the IT department? Perhaps even more importantly, how long ago was this business model created? As CIO it is your responsibility to revisit the IT department’s business model on a regular basis and determine if it is time for a change.

As the demographics of the customers that your company serves changes and as technology continues to evolve, the IT department’s business model may have to change. This can start by making changes to the IT operating model. This may include driving cuts throughout the IT department but also at the same time creating ways to make more effective decision making within the IT department.

An improved business model will require you to find ways to create a single view of the customers that the company serves. Finally, the amount of data that the company collects and needs will only continue to grow. Your new IT business model needs to present a solution for dealing with this challenge.

How Can You Make Your IT Systems More Reliable?

Like it or not, many of your back-end systems are probably starting to show their age. Do you have a plan in place for dealing with these aging systems?

The problem is that operational outages and outright failures are only going to be increasing as our older IT systems start to be taken past the breaking point. In the IT sector, the IT staff who are supporting these cobbled together systems may be getting ready to retire which will only complicate your situation even more.

What this means for you is that there are two solutions that you need to identify and put into place. The first is that you need to create a plan to start to replace your older IT systems. The next is that you need to come up with a plan to start to train the next generation of IT professionals to take care of both the existing and the new IT systems.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the best ways to be a good CIO is to find ways to get in front of events before you get surprised by them. The importance of information technology to the company means that in order to make this happen, you’re going to have to come up with answer to key questions before you are faced with them in real life.

Two such questions include determining if you need to create a new business model for your IT department. This can include changing your operating model, new technology solutions, and better data management. Additionally, you are going to have to determine if the technology that your IT department is currently using has become a major risk factor for the company?

Taking the time now to think about these two issues will allow you to create a solution before you have to. None of us do that good of a job thinking while under pressure. Take the time now to answer the questions that will let everyone know that you are a good CIO!

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

Question For You: Do you think that you should work with the CFO if you decide to make changes to the IT department’s business model?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

What kind of CIO would you like to be: reactive or proactive? The definition of information technology tells us that we’d like to the proactive type of CIO. We’d like to sit around thinking about strategic next steps. However, often times life doesn’t work that way: we suddenly get issues thrown our way all the time. Here are two questions that you need to come up with answers for right now in order to prevent yourself from being surprised later on.

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