There has never been a successful CIO who didn’t pay attention to how other CIOs were solving problems (or failing to do so). Giving time to understanding how unique challenges are overcome by peers is an essential element in the makeup of a top-notch CIOs – and Dr. Jim Anderson, IT alignment specialist, is here to help illustrate a few lessons from the CIOs in the business of energy. Dr. Anderson’s article can be broken down in this way:
- CIOs face 33 percent of energy workers retiring in the next 5 years
- Difficulties are arising in retaining their knowledge
- Poor alignment with the business
- Constant flux of high priority efforts
Sound familiar? Truth is, outside of the massive upcoming retirement, the majority of the problems that energy CIOs are facing are the same as the problems that all CIOs face. Dr. Anderson explains how important it is for energy CIOs (and chief information officers in general) to keep knowledge in the organization and to make that knowledge easily accessible by future employees. The post goes on to explain how IT can help business units face problems like mass retirement through creating “alliances” with business: 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. Good CIOs know that their education is never done. Being able to face large problems with innovative approaches, process driven strategies, and flexibility are all essential. CIOs can gain some ideas for innovation and strategy from industry best practices, but as Dr. Anderson explains, it’s never a bad idea to look outside of one’s own industry for potentially outstanding outcomes.