Sunday, April 29, 2007

Six Time-Wasting Practices CIOs Need to Stop Doing to Improve Performance

Great post on Chief Information Officers:

Gartner's 'hit list' advises CIOs to:
Stop Being the Budget-Priority Police -- Ensure that your IT organization minimizes boundary disputes when business units use technology, particularly if business units have control over discretionary spending. It's more important for CIOs to ensure that the enterprise uses technology effectively than to provide all the technology through their own IT organizations. Initial support and education may be needed so people can regulate their priorities.

Stop Using Enterprise Architecture as a Command and Control Tool -- Rigid standards and policies might make it easier to reduce risk in system changes, but this approach reinforces the traditional view that the IT organization doesn't understand how the enterprise needs to respond quickly to business or market changes. Don't use architecture to control priorities and direct details of business applications; rather, use it to enable coherence.

Stop Communicating Using IT Metrics; Focus on Business Performance -- The focus should be on a manageable number of IT value indicators that are meaningful to business leaders. They should be linked to familiar business measures, such as business goals, business strategies or business processes, and should show the current status and progress to date. Ideally, these indicators should be jointly reported on with the appropriate business unit, or included in the business unit leader's dashboard.

Stop the Proliferation of Applications, Infrastructure and IT Governance Committees -- There's often a common, underlying cause of ill-disciplined enterprise decision making. The critical action to fix these problems is to create and repeatedly exploit a strategic portfolio of applications and infrastructure capabilities, with associated rationalization of IT governance. This means using enterprise architecture and related mechanisms to ensure coherence.

Stop Defining Services in Technical Rather Than Business Terms -- The key recommendation is to simplify the number of services offered, bundle them into a logical group and describe services so they reflect user-based activities or processes -- for example, "adding new employees," which might include a suite of services, including PC, telecom and mobile device support; or "Work space design and installation."

Stop Wasting Time Apologizing for Past Problems -- Credibility requires building strong personal relationships. It means being politically smart, integrating IT objectives with enterprise objectives and anticipating business needs to deploy a predictable stream of technology that enables business solutions. Repeated apologies diminish that.

In some organizations, IT is set up to be reactionary instead of proactive. A forward thinking CIO would see the potential savings in projects instead of creating a command and control environment.

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