If someone offers you chocolate, you eat it. If someone offers advice to increase IT’s strategic value, you take that too. In an article for the Enterprisers Project, Craig Williams, CIO of Ciena, shares four ways to increase IT’s strategic value:
- Develop talent.
- Culture is not static.
- “Sell more bagels.”
- Be a little paranoid.
The best businesses do not have one competitive advantage—they have several. You should always be striving to make the quality of your IT staff one of those advantages. This involves three components: developing their skills, ensuring they understand the business’s goals, and aligning talent where it is best suited to address challenges.
In spite of people’s most stubborn efforts, culture is not a thing that management gets much of a say in. Culture is something that emerges. But you can still discuss the general vibe within IT, to see if people are comfortable with it, or to see if the culture truly agrees with how the business wants to operate. Perhaps you can establish some changes that fine-tune the culture, albeit via nudges.
About selling more bagels, Williams says this:
You need to pay close attention to costs, quality control, and competition, or else trouble finds you faster than you’d think. I try to simplify things for employees and get them to understand that sometimes an IT department can be compared to a bagel shop, like the popular Massachusetts food retailer, Finagle a Bagel. Finagle a Bagel is known for deeply understanding what its customers want. Management then tailors its operating costs, inventory, and resources in its stores around what customers want. Likewise, we must run IT like a business, always keeping our customers at the center of our operations.
Lastly, a bit of paranoia in IT can inspire people to keep up with industry and competitive trends. If no one is resting on their laurels, IT stands to innovate faster.
You can view the original article here: https://enterprisersproject.com/article/2017/7/ciena-cio-4-ways-increase-its-strategic-value