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IT Masters News

IT Cannot Be Only the CIO’s Responsibility
13 November 2014



Suite – a series of items intended to be used together;  a number of connected rooms in a hotel forming one living unit;  a matching set of furniture,  a number of attendants or followers.  Get the picture, a suite is made up of more than one.  The C-Suite, more than one person, a team, a shared responsibility.

All too often, possibly as it is seen as too hard, IT is left in the hands of the CIO.  They are given a budget, staff and responsibility and as long as the computing environment delivers functionality on time and within budget that is it.

This is not a recipe for success, business units can no longer work in isolation.  Knowledge must be shared.  The vision, the mission and goals of an organisation are developed with the whole organisation in mind and must be regularly reinforced across the board.

In addition to the CIO having responsibility for all the technology, they should also be involved in ensuring the effective use of the technology and assessing the benefits or liabilities associated with the technology being used.  This then involves the business unit(s) using the technology deployed.

Take a CRM, for example, this software is often much maligned and underutilised, seen as too hard or a waste of time.  It has been deployed on time and to the users who would most benefit but unless the training has been effective and the sales and client service teams are using it properly, the data or lack of it will not provide appropriate or useful information to increase the bottom line.  It will be seen as a failure.  This is where the team leaders must ensure appropriate training is done, work practices are modified to include use of the CRM and the data being entered is not rubbish, we all know “rubbish in means rubbish out”.

In the same way the CIO is now having to focus on adding value and driving efficiency through the use of technology, their C-suite colleagues’ need to evaluate what applications and infrastructure are best suited to their team’s achieving their goals.  Is a move to Cloud Computing a solution to an increasingly mobile workforce?  What policies are needed to properly manage BYOD?

The CEO needs to make it possible for the CIO and IT to deliver services which result in revenue and enable them to support the transformation of the business for the future such as moving to Cloud Computing.

A Harvard Business Review article “Why IT Fumbles Analytics” talks about traditional IT projects which improve efficiency, lower costs, and increase productivity, but executives are still dissatisfied.  The reason – once the system goes live, no one pays any attention to figuring out how to use the information it generates to make better decisions or gain deeper—and perhaps unanticipated—insights into key aspects of the business.

So the organisation needs to prioritize its IT spending, run programs and projects, manage the IT investment, facilitate organisational change to deliver expected business benefits, and importantly, make sense of information.

Donald A. Marchand and Joe Peppard in their HBR article suggest what is needed is strong governance of IT.  “Be clear about the decisions concerning IT that need to be made, who gets to make them, how they are made, and the supporting management processes, structures, information, and tools needed to ensure that they are effectively implemented, complied with, and are achieving the desired levels of performance.

They conclude “executives need to get their hands dirty and actively engage with their CIO and IT.  Decisions about IT today really have little to do with technology!”