How CIOs spin their wheels

Gartner has released a ‘hit list’ which identifies six time-wasting practices that CIOs should avoid to maintain a focus on key priorities that maximize value to the business.

At the top of the list is a warning to CIOs to stop being the budget-priority police. Boundary disputes need to be minimized when business units use technology, especially if these units have control over discretionary spending.

At number two is a warning to stop using enterprise architecture as a command and control tool. “Rigid standards and policies might make it easier to reduce risk in system changes, but this approach reinforces the traditional view that the IT organization doesn’t understand how the enterprise needs to respond quickly to business or market changes,” said Gartner vice president, John Mahoney.

“Don’t use architecture to control priorities and direct details of business applications; rather, use it to enable coherence.”

Another time-wasting practice is the use of IT metrics when communicating, instead of focusing on business performance. The focus should be on a manageable number of IT value indicators that are meaningful to business leaders.

Number four on the hit list – stop the proliferation of applications, infrastructure and IT governance committees.

Mahoney believes there is often a common, underlying cause of ill-disciplined enterprise decision making. “The critical action to fix these problems is to create and repeatedly exploit a strategic portfolio of applications and infrastructure capabilities, with associated rationalization of IT governance. This means using enterprise architecture and related mechanisms to ensure coherence,” he said Mahoney.

Number five: CIOs shouldn’t waste time apologizing for past problems. Credibility requires building strong personal relationships.

And finally, CIOs must stop defining services in technical rather than business terms. “The key recommendation is to simplify the number of services offered, bundle them into a logical group and describe services so they reflect user-based activities or processes,” Mahoney explained.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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