Succeeding in a turbulent, uncertain world

Six key capabilities every CIO should develop

“Change is the New Normal” – it’s a cliché, but it also reflects the reality for CIOs today. Globalisation, cloud computing, the GFC, skills shortages, compliance, social networking; climate change, green IT, “everything as a service” – it’s a turbulent, endlessly changing and increasingly complex world, and CIOs are at the heart of it. No longer is IT the provider of support services, a cost centre, a follower rather than a leader. Today IT is the driver of innovation, strategic change and value generation.

To meet the demands of the new normal, CIOs and IT Organisations need to develop new capabilities, that enable IT to become successful drivers of strategic change across the organisation.

Value Management: Delivering the expected business value from a program requires far more than the successful delivery of the program. Early stakeholder buy-in to the planned benefits, how they will be measured and how they will be realised is required. Program and project benefits need to be clearly linked to planned business benefits and tracked through the completion of the program. Finally, since benefit realisation usually extends well past the end of the program, ongoing tracking and reporting of benefits is required. Above all else IT must develop the necessary business skills to clearly articulate the value IT delivers.

Portfolio Management: If Program and Project management are about doing things right, then Portfolio Management is about doing the right things. Portfolio Management ensures that programs and projects are aligned to the strategic objectives and have clearly defined benefits.

Organisation Change Management: Upwards of 70% of change management projects fail to achieve stated business objectives due to “internal politics” and “people” issues according to Bearing Point. It is no longer acceptable to deliver successful technology projects, instead business change projects, using organisation change management best practices, should incorporate the required technology change.

Learning & Development: Research shows that high performing organisations, globally, take a strategic approach to talent management and build a learning culture. Establishing a strategic Learning and Development program, that is aligned with the organisations vision, strategies and goals, will ensure the right people with the right skills are available at the right time. Managing Learning & Development strategically is proven to deliver increased value to the business more efficiently.

Collaboration & Knowledge Management: Information overload and rapid constant change make it difficult for today’s knowledge workers to find the information they need. Knowledge Management and Collaboration strategies provide users with the tools they need to work collaboratively across the organisation, and to find the information they need, when they need it.

Strategic Business Planning: IT Strategic Plans generally address the technology changes required to meet the business objectives. Some, will also address the organisation change management required to deploy the new technology to the business. Very rarely does the IT Strategic Plan address the significant change the IT Organisation must also undergo.

To be successful drivers of strategic change, CIOs should assess their organisation’s capability in these six key areas and build a Strategic Business Plan for the IT Organisation that incorporates development of these key capabilities.

This article is part of a series exploring the essential capabilities all CIOs and IT Organisations need to drive transformation and deliver enduring business value.
Joan Dobbie is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Beyond Strategy Consulting. Her company offers a wide range of IT Strategy and Transformation services to IT Organisations of all sizes.