5 Tips to Elevate Your Business Outcome-Focused IT

It is a misconception in IT that all CIOs need to do is transform their own department and come up with the best IT practices. A strategic IT leader today must be able to merge with the operating rhythms of other departments and work as team to think about the business outcome of their technology investments. Coming from a product team at Intuit, Atticus Tysen knows what it is like to determine the best IT strategy that ingrains his company’s business priorities and customer needs. He shares several tips to take a lead on digital transformation on InformationWeek:

  1. Practice empathy.
  2. Engage in partnership with other teams.
  3. Communicate transparently.
  4. Have patience in change management.
  5. Think like an IT customer.

Know Your Work

You may have ground-breaking ideas to transform the status quo of your department, but if they make no significant change to the business as a whole, do they really matter? Business outcomes and customer needs matter and should be your motifs in determining the right IT strategy for your company. You need to work with other departments to understand their work and bring up solutions to accelerate their processes. This might, for instance, mean sending IT staff to observe customer sales agents. If another department is clearly not ready to take on such collaboration though, then shelf it and just broadcast that you’re ready when they are.

Don’t sit back and wait for anybody to come to you to project all their ideas. This is not a buffet dinner and you are not a VIP for them to serve. Be proactive and bring conversations to the table; don’t hesitate to broach discussions and ask for feedback from your colleagues—they can help you see things from different perspectives. Tysen attempts to communicate IT as transparently possible, making the smallest costs available for anyone to see in order to elicit further discussion.

He also recognizes that change management must proceed at different speeds according to the different risk factors that come with different departments. He gives the example that a system of engagement for a marketing function is breezier to experiment with than a system of record for financial reporting. It would be wrong to try to move all changes along at the same brisk pace. Work with other leaders to develop the right rhythm.

Tysen goes on to say that it is also helpful to think like a customer in doing business:

Rooting ourselves in the business has caused a complete re-imagination of our IT function to be focused on external customers (for us that means small businesses, consumers, accountants and developers) and internal customers (everyone from executives to front-line employees). IT teams are now structured to serve our customer segments, which encourages them to think more like product leaders as opposed to “order takers.” Engaging with leadership in HR, for example, has helped us streamline from around 400 different applications around talent acquisition and management down to a roadmap to get us to a dozen well-curated and well-managed apps, which will result in a much better experience for everyone.

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