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7 Strategies for Smart IT Risk-Taking

When do you play it safe, and when do you bet your kid’s college fund? The Enterprisers Project sought out a group of top IT executives to answer that question, or some facsimile of that question. The answers reveal a wide spectrum of risk responses, and a smart IT department will heed them all. Here are seven strategies for taking risk:

  1. Encourage risk-taking—and not risk-takers.
  2. Encourage informed risk-taking.
  3. CIOs must have their teams’ backs.
  4. Evaluate every failure.
  5. Signal that you understand the value of ideas.
  6. Enable unstoppable trends.
  7. Love your APIs.

There’s Always Community College

Calculated risk-taking is great, but taking risks as a habit is not. Risk-tasking should be a transparent process, where you lay out the risk and explain what benefits could result from it. Keep skunkworks out of it, if you can help it. CIOs should empower IT teams to act with confidence during risky situations, which means that CIOs accept the blame if the risk ends up not panning out as hoped. In fact, CIOs have to go big or go home as Charlene Begley, former GE CIO, sees it:

When it comes to risk-taking in IT, rather than tell everyone it’s OK to fail, I think it’s better to tell people we’re going to set some really aggressive goals, and even if we only get halfway there, I promise you we will make more progress than if we did what was safe.

When projects do end in failure, figure out why they failed and extract as many lessons as possible, so that you never fail in the same way twice. CIOs can foster new ideas by signaling that they understand both the creativity and the artistry that goes into being a developer. About enabling unstoppable trends, Uri Sarid, CTO of MuleSoft, means that power is gradually being returned to the user in business, and IT should not try to hoard resources and set up gateways unnecessarily. And lastly, if you can think of it in such a way, try breaking your world down into APIs. Any vendor that can be mapped to an API can become an option for you, removing concerns of vendor lock-in.

You can read the original article here: https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2015/4/7-it-executives-share-their-strategies-smart-risk-taking

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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