The CIO Success is critical in every organizations and warrants a lot more attention from the CIO perspective and the perspective of the CIO’s organization. Yet CIO success has become more elusive in recent years. Perhaps that is due to it simply being much harder to be a successful CIO now more than ever before. That’s because of two major factors:
- The role of the CIO has changed significantly in recent years
- What defines success has become very fluid as the expectations change
I have organized things into four main categories: Role of the CIO, IT Value Proposition, Strategic CIO, and New CIO 90 Day Plan. I am preparing new content for each of these categories that I will begin posting shortly.
Role of the CIO
It used to be a CIO only had to be a great technologist to be successful. But now, with technology being so pervasive and with all of the changes in technology, the expectations for the CIO have changed.
These changes have caused a major shift in the role of the CIO. For some organizations, the changes in role of the CIO have resulted in the role of the CIO becoming purely that of a technologist focused on the operations of the IT department. For other organizations, the role of the CIO has changed to being very strategic and the role of the CIO is focused on adding business value and shaping business strategy.
This diagram illustrates the distinct roles of a CIO and the limits on being able to fulfill each of them equally. That the more a CIO remains anchored in the functional world their ability to participate strategically will remain limited. In order to make the strategic shift CIO’s need to have a management team in place that can attend to the departmental activities.
The challenge for the majority of organizations who haven’t yet decided if the role of the CIO for them is the technologist role or that of the business strategist role, is how to determine what role of the CIO makes the most sense for their organization and ultimately what CIO success means for them.
The insights and resource provided here are intended to help CIO’s influence their organizations in making that decision. They are also geared toward helping CIO’s prepare themselves for the changing role of the CIO.
IT Value Proposition
The IT value proposition is extremely important to CIO success regardless of the role of the CIO. That is why it is essential that CIO’s develop the capability to expand the IT value proposition of the IT department and their own value proposition as a CIO.
To expand the IT value proposition requires a clear understanding on just what is valuable to the organization, your peers, and your boss. Expanding the IT value proposition requires understanding the value chain for your business. Only when you understand what is valuable and the value chain can develop a plan for what is considered value add, or value added.
Understanding value add is tricky. Lots of people think value add is simply doing a really good job when in fact it is much more than that. The easiest way to think of value add is to think of it like an unexpected bonus that is over an above what is required. It’s the extras that add value based on what is valuable to the recipient.
Value add is not the icing on the cake since cake is supposed to have icing. Value add for many people is not even a scoop of ice cream since that is an ordinary enhancement to cake even if it was free. Lastly, providing great customer service with the cake may not be considered value add either since the expectation now is that great customer service should be the norm.
The challenge with CIO Success is there is not a one size fits all ‘Strategic CIO’ out there. The size of the organization, industry and many other factors affect what is expected of every CIO. More importantly, who the CIO is and what the CIO’s capabilities are is the most significant factor in a being a strategic CIO.
It is also important to remember that regardless of the role of the CIO, the opportunity to be a strategic CIO is equally strong. The only difference will be in the the focus to being strategic. Additionally, not every organization has a CIO position but does require CIO capabilities from time to time.
Since most of the focus in on being a more strategic business leader, CIO’s must focus on improving their ability to contribute to business strategy and the strategic planning process outside of the IT department.
CIO 90 Day Plan
CIO success begins with having at a minimum a 90 Day Plan for your new CIO job. The purpose of a 90 Day Plan is not just to be sure you hit the ground running, the purpose of a 90 Day plan is to ensure your first 90 days are focused on laying the foundation for future success.
As a new executive in the organization you will be expected to establish your own structure to your on-boarding process and coming up to speed. In fact, how you handle being a new CIO during your first 90 days and what your 90 Day Plan focuses on will be the basis for how the organization judges their hiring you as their new CIO.
There are situations where you may consider the benefits of a 30-60-90 day plan or even a 120 day plan. Although there are situations where a 30 day plan is warranted, the normal expectation is that a CIO 90 Day Plan is most effective when starting your new CIO job.
The CIO 90 Day Plan Kit available here offers a comprehensive work plan as a checklist to guide your through these important first 90 days.