The CIO Diaries – Bridging the Gap to LBOs

November 4, 2011
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CIO — “I am managing ten applications, eighty five virtual machines, four ncio finaletworks, twenty five IT projects and three data centers. Why can’t the CFO understand what we are doing for the company?” 

CFO — “Every conversation from these IT guys is around allocation of more IT budgets. 

CIO — “I am managing ten applications, eighty five virtual machines, four ncio finaletworks, twenty five IT projects and three data centers. Why can’t the CFO understand what we are doing for the company?” 

CFO — “Every conversation from these IT guys is around allocation of more IT budgets. 

Where is all the IT-spend going? What is the impact if we change the capex allocation for next year?

CIO — “I am managing ten virtual machines and allocated twenty five IT resources to support the sales function. The Sales GM should have a happy face in our briefing today..”

VP Sales — “Our IT seems to be extremely busy but only reasonably successful in providing value to us. My field sales still can’t get their quotes online at the right time when customers need it. Need to bring this up today.”

The CIO has been a fixture in the corporate office for nearly three decades, yet the gulf between this discipline and the Lines of Business seems to be getting wider. In fact, the more IT spends, the less seems to be the understanding with other departments. A few forward looking organizations are able to leverage IT as a strategic value differentiator, but a clear majority continues to relegate it to the odd position of high-priced commodity.

CIOs need to take proactive steps in bridging this gap. Collaborative and forward looking analytics is one way to go. Simple business value framework can be built as a starting point to broker and collaborate a conversation. Key performance indicators that matter to the GMs should be demonstrated as outcomes of managing complex elements such as virtual machines, networks and IT projects. The GMs should be given an opportunity to challenge and change IT scenarios and visualize potential impact to their business. IT Innovation vs Sustaining operations should be made visible in an intuitive way that the LOB understands.

Compared to the complex applications that IT is managing today ranging from Big Data to cloud to mobility, the collaborative analytics approach pales in comparison. The data is all available in internal systems. If only the CIO cares to look into it and invest in running IT as business!