Talking About IT's Business Value

An IT report to the business should never be about IT.

Lots of CIOs talk the “business value of IT” talk, but few walk the walk better than Dave Hansen, CIO for CA, the enterprise software vendor.

I recently met Hansen as we prepared to address a group of Midwest technology executives on the subject of delivering business value through IT. As we compared notes before the session, I asked Hansen what he would be presenting to the group.

“I think I’ll share the contents of our 2007 Global Information Services report,” he said as he placed the well-designed 30-page report on the table in front of me.

“Oh, that’s interesting,” I replied, giving it a cursory glance. “Is this a section of CA’s annual report or a governance document?”

“Neither,” Hansen said. “It’s our first-ever global IT services report that we produced for management, employees, partners and customers to show them—in great detail—how IT is delivering business value.”

I grabbed the report off the table and flipped through it. I was thoroughly impressed. It truly was a business document about IT; it was most definitely not an IT document.

Hansen’s report went way beyond typical mission statement platitudes and jargon. One of my favorite parts was a chart entitled “An Average Day in the Life of Global IT,” which included information on how any and all security threats are dealt with daily, how many change management requests are processed and so on.

We all know there are no “average” days in IT—global or otherwise—and Hansen’s report illuminated and underscored that understanding with pages of data and charts that provided clarity, transparency and, of course, value for the business.

Needless to say, the audience responded very well and many wanted a copy.

You can have a copy, too. Drop me an e-mail with your company’s name and I’ll make sure you get one.

Then you can stop just talking the IT value talk and start walking like a businessman.

Publisher Emeritus Gary Beach can be reached at gbeach@cio.com.

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