As a CIO you are going to want to learn from what other CIOs are doing. What this means is that you are going to have to keep your eyes open and look around at different industries to find CIOs who are both facing and solving challenges that you may one day have to face yourself. It turns out that in the energy business, CIOs have their hands full right now…
What To Do When Everyone Is Leaving
The energy business in the U.S. is facing a once-in-a-career challenge for all of their CIOs – 1/3 of all of the workers in this industry are going to be eligible for retirement in the next 5 years. This could result in a mass exodus of well trained workers all in one fell swoop.
This kind of problem has be dealt with now rather than later. CIOs are being asked to become creative in coming up with ways to help their energy company find ways to deal with this issue. One of the big problems that they have identified is that within the energy business all too often information is passed on from older workers to younger workers by word of mouth. Clearly this won’t work once all of the older workers are no longer there!
CIOs are busy at work trying to come up with ways to deal with this problem. They believe that what needs to be done is that the IT department needs to develop a way to help the company do a better job of documenting its knowledge and once documented, find a way to store it in some electronic format.
Just documenting what needs to be stored is not enough. The CIOs in the energy business realize that what really matters is that the information that has been collected can be used by others. That’s why they are taking the time to verify that the information is in a format that can be used passed on to others.
How To Make IT Matter More
You would think that trying to deal with 33% of your workforce getting ready to walk away all at the same time would be a huge project that could take up all of a CIOs time. However, as with all such things in life energy biz CIOs can’t just focus on one thing at a time. They also have to be searching for ways to make the IT department more relevant to the other departments in the company.
In surveys that these CIOs have done, they’ve discovered that the other departments in the company want the IT department to be a business partner and they want to work with IT as an ally in order to help them find ways to use technology to solve the business problems that they are facing.
How to do this is the ultimate question. CIOs are tackling it by creating IT groups called “business partners” which they staff with business analysts. By dedicating consultants to each line of the company’s business they’ve been able to align with the various departments. By working together, both parties are able to ensure that they are working on the right things that will end up giving the most value.
What All Of This Means For You
One of the most important things about being a good CIO is knowing that you still have a lot of learning to do. One place to get some good guidance from is the energy business where their CIOs are struggling with some very challenging problems right now.
One of the biggest issues that energy business CIOs have to tackle is the simple fact that 1/3 of all of their workers are going to be retiring in the next 5 years. This means that new ways to capture task related information in a way that will allow it to be passed on must be created. At the same time, energy business IT departments must find a way to partner with the rest of the business. One way to make this happen is to create IT business partners for each line of business.
One of the reasons that we all entered into the IT field is because it promised us constant change. As CIO we need to understand that if we’re going to be able to deal with all of that change, we had better be looking for some good direction from other industries. CIOs in the energy business offer us some great insights into how to tackle difficult problems and how to come out ahead.
Question For You: What would be the best way to convince workers to share their knowledge with tools that are trying to document how they do their job?
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!
What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
In every business, there are internal conflicts. One conflict that almost every company seems to have is the failure of the business side of the house to see eye-to-eye with the IT department. This has been going on for so long that it’s almost a part of the definition of information technology. As CIO, it’s going to be your responsibility to fix this problem. Got any suggestions?