Technology has become so pervasive that it is becoming a company’s primary way to engage with their customers. And in order to support this, every company must think of themselves as a technology company first, their main product or service is secondary. This is the New Normal.  See this presentation for a deeper explanation.

This New Normal is unavoidable so companies need to make sure that they are setting themselves up to succeed.  This means starting with IT and the CIO. If you are a CEO and your CIO matches any of these signs, it is probably time to make a change.  If you are in IT and this describes your CIO, it might be time to start looking for a new job.

 

1. Your CIO does not have good relationships with line of business (LoB) peers

Many technical folks have an introverted streak in them so this one is hard, but critical. The CIO needs to work with the lines of business to determine how to create value for the business as a whole.  The LoB can provide access to the customers in order to understand their needs and behaviors. This is step one to finding ways to use technology to engage with those customers.

 

2. Your CIO does not have insight into all of the technology used by the company

Critical point here, the CIO does not need to own all of the technology used by the company, but they do need to have insight into the data.  Ideally, the CIO is helping to guide the technology decisions made by the line of business (great example of the importance of point #1). And note that having access to the data across the company will be critical for implementing and finding the value in big data.

 

3. Your CIO has no understanding of the end-user experience with technology

Coming up with new ways to engage customer technologies is the nirvana, but does your CIO even know what the end-user experience with existing technologies is? How long does it take an employee in Taiwan to submit a product order? Can customers easily use your mobile app? Do your applications work on the latest tablet your sales reps are buying? Every CIO should be able to answer these questions.

 

4. Your CIO is not measuring the impact of technology performance

A recent study showed that only 33% of companies were measuring the impact on the business of technology performance problems.  No big deal until you realize just how much it is costing ($10.8M per major issue) and that the frequency of technology performance issues in companies is getting worse. Bottom line, if the CIO isn’t working with the business to measure the impact, then it’s likely that they aren’t fixing it either

 

5. Your CIO has IT-focused KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)

Availability, uptime, that’s good stuff.  But it is no longer what the performance of IT (and the CIO) should be measured on.  In the New Normal, the CIO needs to be directly supporting revenue generation.  If an end user can’t access information they need from a mobile app or make a transaction fast enough and they bounce, business suffers.  The CIO should be reporting on KPIs that show a direct tie to revenue. Otherwise, IT will continue to ignore the impact of technology performance on the business (see point #4).

 

6. Your CIO has not yet started working on big data

Let’s just assume that your CIO has a handle on cloud and mobile and discuss instead big data. Big data won’t revolutionize your business unless you can do three things: 1) Collect all the data that your company has (refer back to point #2)  2) Understand the needs of the LoB and customers in order to figure out what data is needed and 3) Present the little data output in a way that will help the business predictively or at the very least, real-time.  This is no short order, which is why CIOs need a task force work with the LoB to start this journey.

 

7. Your CIO thinks DevOps is a trend that will go away

Much of this list is a culture change for a company and especially for IT.  This one is a cultural, process and organizational change for IT.  And it is critical.  Hopefully your CIO has already implemented agile development practices.  This goes a step beyond.  The only way that IT can handle the incredible velocity of development needs in the New Normal is to have Development and Operations teams working in complete alignment. The same way that the CIO has to be best friends with the LoB, Development and Operations need to sit side-by-side and understand how everything they do effects each other.

The pressure on IT in companies today is phenomenal and it will only increase.  A strong CIO who can do the above will be the key to company success.  If you’ve got a CIO who doesn’t show these signs, let me know – I might want to buy some stock in your company!

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