In a recent Forbes article, "You Have The IT Department You Deserve", by Peter High, Mark Sunday, CIO of Oracle outlines his thoughts on how IT should be driving higher levels of value to their business.
What do IT leaders need to do in order to improve IT’s performance and its image?
- Ensure that the basics of IT are operating flawlessly
- If people do not have consistent and flawless access to data and to the technological tools they need on a daily basis, IT will not have the credibility to become more strategic
- IT must simplify its portfolio. This means reducing the number of solutions, vendors, and processes wherever possible. It means adopting cloud technologies that scale more easily. It also means ensuring that IT has a phenomenal execution capability, leveraging agile methods to an increasing extent.
- IT should have a strong security capability, assuming that is part of the IT leadership team’s responsibilities. IT leaders must take preventive measures to ensure that data is not taken, but it also needs excellent plans should a breach occur.
- Pay attention to the metrics that the CEO and the board hold dear
- Traditional IT metrics such as on-time and on-budget delivery and system uptime remain critical, but they are foundational. IT must work to deliver top and bottom line impact to a greater extent, and help drive initiatives that will move the dials on the CEO’s scorecard.
- Market IT’s successes
- IT has not generally been good at marketing what it does well. As a result, IT is often noticed most when things go wrong, but not recognized at all when things go right. It is up to IT to do a better job of proving its value through hard data. That which gets measured gets done, after all, and IT should be transparent on where and how it is improving, optimally by demonstrating value achieved.
- Focus on external customers and customer experience
- I have noted before that when you hear an IT leader talk about “customers,” he or she is quite likely to be referring to colleagues. IT needs to become more cognizant of the true customers who provide the company with its revenues. How does IT deliver better customer experience?
- As more customers interact with the companies with which they do business digitally, IT should have a leadership role in improving the digital experience. This requires that IT have touch points with the customers, whether through sales visits, help desk calls, store/branch/outlet visits, and the like.
New technologies like enterprise app stores, mobile application management, and application rationalization solutions can help organizations to simplify and build business process integrations that help IT to ensure that the basics of IT are automated and operate flawlessly.