Just How Good Is Your Company At That IT Stuff?

by drjim on August 31, 2011

What's Your Company's IT Grade?

What’s Your Company’s IT Grade?

You would think that since all of these computers, networks, and software things have been around for so long that most companies would be just about even in how they make use of them, right? A recent study reveals that this is not the case: some of us are using IT to move the company forward and some of us are slipping behind because of IT. Want to know more?

It’s All About The Data

One of the primary tasks that every company assigns to their IT department is the collection and processing of data. In a survey that was conducted by McKinsey & Co. and the MIT Center for Digital Business it was revealed that CIOs are generally doing a good job on the first part of this task and not so good on the second part.

What the study revealed was that of the 330 U.S. companies that they talked to, the ones who were able to collect the data, process it, and then make use of the results showed the highest profitability and productivity. Although you would think that every company would be doing this these days, the survey showed that many companies don’t view themselves as being driven by data.

Process, Process, Process

I can see you thinking to yourself, “well that data stuff can be tricky, the CIOs should at least have the basics down pat”. Once again, you’d be wrong.

The survey showed that the areas inside the company where there have been countless case studies showing the benefits of doing a good job of applying IT such as HR, procurement, etc. would surely be taken care of. Somewhat surprisingly this is not the case. The majority of the companies that participated in the survey reported that they had done an inconsistent job of applying IT technology in these areas.

One of the reasons that this is the case may relate back to the simple fact that most companies reported that they did not have a good IT governance methodologies in place. This means that they don’t do a good job of prioritizing what IT projects get funded and implemented. I think that we can all agree on this conclusion!

Finally, one area that should be a no-brainer for IT is the implementation of best-practices. However, once again companies reported that these have not been widely adapted by most firms.

If there is any good news to be had in these findings it’s that as CIO it should be very easy for you to be viewed as being successful. There is so much basic work that still needs to be done at most companies that just by focusing on these types of projects you can cause the company to become more successful.

What All Of This Means For You

As CIO it is your job to harness the power of IT in order to move the company forward. The MIT study shows that not all of us are being successful in doing this.

Where there seem to be gaps in how CIOs are using IT solutions to help the company do more are in the areas of making use of data and processes. Just collecting the data that a company generates is a good first step; however, CIOs need to create and apply the right tools that will allow the company to process the data and use the results. Implementing best practice processes will allow the company to streamline its operations and move ahead of the competition.

The great thing about IT is that the tools of IT, the computers, networks, and software are all available to everyone. What you need to do in order to succeed as a CIO is find ways to use these tools to make your company good at IT.

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

Question For You: What’s the best way for a CIO to convince your company to implement best practices?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Isn’t a global recession just great? For CIOs it has been: it pretty much got rid of one of their biggest headaches – having their star talent leave. Now that things are improving, a new challenge is starting to show up for CIOs: how to turn their Generation X workers into the IT leaders that the company is going to need for tomorrow…

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