Research suggests that over half of business executives still do not consider the CIO a crucial business partner. To rightly shrink this statistic to zero, there needs to be give and take between C-suite executives and the CIO both. In an article for CFO.com, Bob Dvorak offers five tips to make for a more strategic executive experience.
Tip #1: Simplify the IT Portfolio
Since information is “the oil of the 21st century,” the CFO and CIO should work in tandem when it comes to making decisions about application use. And since 48% of respondents in a report by consulting firm Capgemini believed they had more applications than necessary in 2014, the axe needs to come out of the scabbard. Dvorak cites the “buy/hold/sell” approach as the best way to confront this overshoot.
Tip #2: Understand ROI Expectations
In the C-Suite, there are a number of ROI metrics floating around. Of course, if you’re the CEO, you’ll want to measure ROI in terms of shareholder return. If you’re the CFO, you’ll want to see a return on invested capital. Yet if you’re CIO, you might measure ROI in a way similar to gas mileage. Capabilities (delivered by many applications) are divided by costs (software licenses, application maintenance and hardware leases).
Tips #3 & #4: Manage the Shadows, Align on Security
The threat of shadow IT is often greater than a business’s senior leaders imagine. For instance, 70% of employees surveyed in a 2013 Forrester report said that they use Dropbox exclusively for work reasons. Dvorak cautions:
…when Dropbox experiences system downtime, what happens to that important causal analysis your financial reporting manager stored there so she could work on it from home?
Furthermore, IT holds the key to the company’s entire security system. When C-Suite officers do not align their departments strategically with IT on security, it spells disaster in the near or long term.
Tip #5: Build Strategic Internal Relationships
Lastly, CIOs who are more involved in business strategy help organizations perform better. There needs to be a shift in attitude where everyone understands on both sides of the table how important IT-business alignment is, so that the CIO can most fully contribute to business success. Any hard feelings or rivalries about upending the status quo need to fall by the wayside.