Selling the strategic value of IT

More than two-thirds of CIOs say that their CEOs view IT as a cost of doing business – and not, unfortunately, as a business enabler. That’s according to a survey of more than 700 CIOs by Meta Group Inc.

While you know that IT has strategic value, chances are your CEO doesn’t, and it’s up to you to show him. According to Jonathan Poe, senior vice president at Meta Group, CIOs typically aren’t proactive in communicating and demonstrating IT’s value to business executives.

Here are some ways to put IT on the CEO’s radar:

Strengthen and nurture the important relationships. Street-smart CIOs manage executive relationships in a high-touch manner (lots of face time) that simultaneously increases business perception and CIO credibility. “A strategic relationship with the CEO requires a lot of reinforcement,” says Poe. “Relationships taken for granted are typically short-lived.”

Mediate via portfolio management. Portfolio management (the practice of administering IT projects and assets as an investment portfolio with expected payback returns) can help overcome the gulf between business and IT executives. IT portfolios have transparent and holistic views of the organization, which help businesses understand more fully the collaboration needed to balance and satisfy enterprise and line-of-business requirements.

Make value an everyday execution. Most CIOs understand that they need to communicate IT value. Before communication, however, they must create and demonstrate IT value, both strategic (such as time-to-market) and tactical (system availability).

Mold a staff to reflect your values and leadership style. “Too many CIOs make do with an inherited staff that was built for someone else (who has left),” says Poe.

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