"I ain't got time to bleed" is the cheesy line from the character Blaine in the 1987 Predator movie as the team chases the alien predator through the dense jungle. In today's business and technology world, CIOs do battle with bureaucracy and business executives that change priorities way too often, leaving them no time to adjust. Business executives need to increase the speed that they launch new products, enter new geographic locations, create new products, and utilize customer feedback.
CIOs must create new optimization methods, and business engagement models to drive tighter business influence, strategic input, and clear outcomes. As business managers and executives take a greater role in IT spending decisions, (and even more so in the future) there really is no time to bleed.
The great news is that there are a number of practices that CIOs can use to drive business influence, and optimize the speed that they (and their teams) respond. Better yet, using any of the below practices often enables IT to get in front of critical business decisions, and influence the business strategy. This is a major step for many CIOs, as they move their organizations from reactive to proactive, eventually serving as the foundation of the business strategy, and the core delivery platform for business results. Some current examples include Amazon, NetFlix, Google, and LinkedIn.
CIOs should adopt the following practices to drive business influence, and help drive sustainable competitive advantage through the speed and quality of IT capabilities. These practices include:
1. Focus on service delivery optimization: Automation must be a key theme across Development and Operations teams, DevOps and cloud-based delivery architectures are great starting points to maximize existing staff, hire and/or develop new skill sets, and offer speed and agility to the business through service delivery. Investing in staff training and development are keys to driving new optimization models, and destroying old processes and models that are too slow and costly.
2. Organize a cloud center of excellence: An increasingly important team, this group enables business and IT to better understand the business case behind the selection of any cloud-based decision, and helps identify which cloud delivery model is best (i.e. private, hybrid, public), as well as create governance policies. The group provides a clear set of requirements across business, technology, security, audit, compliance, performance, and other areas that help set the criteria for cloud selection. They works closely with the business, vendor sourcing, and procurement teams. These teams also enable a broker mentality across IT, as the number of external, cloud-based options grow, and the balance between internal and external private sourcing cost analysis becomes more important.
3. Create a DevOps center of enablement: DevOps teams are acting as change accelerators inside of their IT organizations by showing the impact that teamwork, collaboration, and automation has on the speed and quality of services. They also serve to enable tighter business relationships, by incorporating business managers as part of the teams. Finally, customers get to see their feedback in action as DevOps based services are adjusted based on well-developed customer feedback mechanisms.
4. Create a technology business center: This is a team, working closely with the Business Relationship Management team, and customers that offer technology and business process advice to business executives (and sometimes the Board of Directors) to better gauge the direction of new and legacy technologies, and current and future IT investments. They look at potential scenario's (business and competition), and help clarify the goals and impact of IT on the products and revenue streams.
There exists a great opportunity for CIOs to rethink how they impact the business through the speed and quality of their investments. There are a plethora of activities and processes that IT organization execute every day to support business partners. Now is the time to act, and not bleed.
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