Don’t look now, but the ground beneath your feet is shifting. That’s the message for IT executives in a new report from Deloitte Consulting’s CIO Advisory Services practice, entitled: “CIO 2.0: The Changing Role of the Chief Information Officer.”

Citing factors such as increased global threats and new governmental regulations (e.g. the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), the report identifies the ten biggest opportunities and challenges in IT, and outlines the essential capabilities that are required to master them.

In Deloitte’s view, the following four issues are the most pressing for IT:

IT and the Law: With increasingly complex regulations emerging, CIOs need to design and build business processes, systems and organizational structures that are not only compliant with today’s rules, but also anticipate the direction of future regulations.

Security and Risk: The leadership team needs to work together to identify threats; balance risk and cost; and test vulnerabilities, plans and assumptions to ensure the safety of goods, people, information and facilities.

Business Integration: Information and technology are levers for trimming and simplifying business processes and building stronger, more effective partnerships and supplier relationships. CIOs need to work with fellow business leaders to identify the possibilities and the obstacles.

Value: CIOs must work with their fellow business leaders to shift projects and assets to areas most likely to generate returns and shed/streamline assets and operations that are destroying value.

So what else made it into the top ten? Here’s a quick rundown.

Alignment = Collaboration: IT must be included at the business table to ensure that their role is clear and that spending ties back to business goals. Governance and Funding: It is critical to adopt a simple governance model that produces timely decisions, responsible actions and reasonable results. IT Sourcing: Business leaders should develop a sourcing strategy based on fact-based assessments of cost and quality, core competency, and effective management/control structures. Outsourcing a “problem” may result in even more trouble. Performance Measures: CXOs should regularly assess and benchmark performance to validate internal improvement targets and identify stellar performance. Balanced scorecards are useful in balancing critical performance measures such as cost, value, quality, risk, customer satisfaction and alignment with strategy. Growing Talent: Senior management should make more effective use of current talent by realigning the work to match people’s interest and skills. Opportunities should be created for people to learn and apprentice into specialist or master roles. Beyond Customer Service: As a scarce resource, IT simply cannot satisfy every customer demand. Performing a critical assessment of customer IT needs, cost to deliver, and value to the company provides a mechanism for managing demand as well as supply. In addition, when customers are more aware of volumes and costs, they will be more likely to meter their own demands.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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