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Establishing the Path to Become the CIO of the Future!

by Kathie Topel on October 21, 2010

What is the role of the CIO and the IT organization for the future?  A question that everyone is talking about.  We hear things like differentiation, business value, sustainable innovation, maximized impact and strategy execution.   If the IT leaders are going to be a peer to their executive counterparts and be part of the Game Changers for the company they will need to ensure that their team is engaged in the business and not just the technology.  How does this happen?  Technologists have been measured for years by metrics that surround the knowledge that they hold for the latest programming language, the most code that can be produced, the certification they received for specific products and their ability to maintain and enhance code that needs customization.  This is just not the case for the future.

I am sure a number of people have heard the phrase from the backroom to the boardroom. This phase summarizes what the IT organization for the future has to be prepared for.  They must have awareness and knowledge centered around how they participate in the delivery of the mission, vision, strategy and brand values of the company.  How do we create a technology team culture that is focused on business value?  This becomes the battle for the CIO who is faced with trying to make the transformation from the backroom to the boardroom in a short period of time with less and less team members than ever before.

The CIO Executive Council really summarized this journey up in a one page visual titled Journey to the Future-State CIO.  (Attached Diagram) This picture allows us as Technology leaders to be able to align ourselves with the external community of Technology leaders and decide where we are on our personalized company journey.   The levels determined by the CIO Executive Council are;

  • Functional Level with an IT Reputation of Credibility
    • Stakeholder Relationship: Service Provider
    • Staff Expertise: System
    • Leader Focus: Internal
  • Transformational Level with an IT Reputation of Influential
    • Stakeholder Relationship: Partner
    • Staff Expertise: Processes
    • Leader Focus: Enterprise
  • Business Strategy Level with an IT Reputation of Game Changer
    • Stakeholder Relationship: Peer
    • Staff Expertise: Business
    • Leader Focus: External

We are finding a consistent pattern when senior IT executives review the Journey to the Future-State CIO diagram.  A large majority of IT executives have determined that they have advanced to being a part of the business strategy level. The difficulty is that their team is just leaving the functional level and some of their team is even fighting the departure of this level.   The issue with this is really compounded with the fact that IT groups are functioning with less people than ever before and each person has to be fully engaged and moving toward the business strategy level.  How do I get my team to move quickly to bridge this gap?  This becomes the ultimate challenge facing IT executive leaders.  It is a MUST that a method is implemented to close this gap and bring the entire IT group from the backroom closer to the boardroom.  This is really where we have positioned our model POWERSHIP®.  It is a simplified strategy execution model that gets everyone from the front line to the CIO engaged in the delivery of the mission, vision and the strategy.  This allows business value, sustainable innovation and strategic solutions to be created from all areas, not just the executives.  Whether you utilize the POWERSHIP° model or another model in its category it is MOST important that you get started now and develop your team into the corporate game changers of the future.

My compliments to the team that put this outstanding diagram together Journey to the Future-State CIO. I look forward to all your upcoming work.  Link to the diagram on the CIO website http://council.cio.com/programs/future_state.html

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