2016 will be the year CIOs will influence, acquire and reshape capabilities beyond the core IT agenda and be expected to behave as more ambitious change leaders.
Analyst firm, Gartner, has released its annual CIO New Year’s Resolutions report with a list of recommendations it says CIOs should use as inspiration to achieve these objectives in 2016.
Analysts and report authors, Patrick Meehan and Mark Raskino, believe CIOs can influence top management by doing the following:
Take a board member out to breakfast
Ideas and insights presented by CIOs to board members have often fallen on deaf ears and a different approach is needed.
“We recommend talking to non-executive board directors singly or in pairs, over time. Don’t try to sell them specific positions; just offer to help them become better informed about the way technology is changing your industry and your company’s opportunity,” the analysts said.
They suggested that CIOs should offer an update to the board over a meal, preferably breakfast, the most efficient time for non-executives.
Power map your leadership network
CIOs are the only c-level executives with a view of all “intra-enterprise and inter-enterprise” functions, the analysts said.
“For two years now, we have been recommending CIOs build a leadership network and practice adaptive networked leadership. What this means is that CIOs cannot go it alone; they need cohorts across functional profit and loss areas with whom to collaborate and over whom they influence.
“One-to-one direct contact is not the best way to lead and influence; soliciting the power of your peers in the leadership network is the best practice for doing so,” the analysts said.
Link to the top two metrics your CEO and board care about
CIOs should stop reporting on IT performance and focus on business outcomes, which is what keeps CEOs up at night.
Meehan and Raskino suggested that CIOs read and reread their company’s annual report and the letter to shareholders where the CEO makes certain promises concerning business performance.
“Revenue, profitability and market share are among the few spigots the CEO has to manipulate to deliver on earnings per share. Read that section carefully and discern what your CEO is up to this upcoming year. Now is the time for you to get in alignment,” the analysts said.
CIOs should devise two or three aggregate metrics that are meaningful to the CEO or board and share these with business peers.
Revisit the CMO relationship
In recent years, CMOs have “spent lavishly” on social media, monitoring, data aggregation and analytics to create a “market of one” per customer.
The CMO needs the CIO more than ever to help leverage customer data – granular customer profiles – points in time where the customer alerts the enterprise that they have a need to be filled, the report said.
Meehan and Raskino also recommended that CIOs need to acquire the resources needed to deepen digital business change.
They can do this by developing a business sacrifice list and divest a system every quarter.
“Today’s portfolio of systems under management almost certainly includes systems that are used by relatively few people, doing legacy or redundant administrative work. Those costs are a drain on the business and on the IT budget. They inhibit digital investment. CIOs need to sharpen the knife to actively prune such systems rather than waiting to be told to decommission them,” the analysts said.
The report also recommended that CIOs create a list of potential “techquisitions". This is when companies in a traditional industry acquire a new digital or technology business.
The analysts said that even if organisations are not prepared to make such a move, they should think of three to five areas where the business could innovate more, and then list smaller tech companies that could provide those skills and capabilities.
Finally, CIOs should plan for more widespread “crowdsourcing” as the least expected innovation outcomes result from collaboration with other parties.
"Determine how you will use social media or some other collaboration mechanism to engage a group," the analysts said.
They suggested CIOs should list five areas where more creativity and energy is required, and open two of those to crowdsourcing across the whole enterprise in 2016. One area can be open to crowdsourcing outside the enterprise, they said.
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