Executive attitudes, application portfolios, and suppliers each affect the perception of the value that the CIO brings to the table.\nInitially, the CIO was a functional unit head, making promises of rapid delivery. Next, the role progressed to the CIO as a strategic partner that enabled business partner convergence. Subsequently, it advanced into a business visionary role that drove strategy. Today, the role of the CIO is centered around business transformation and building a data-driven culture.\nThe CIO is a change agent. All the IT functions that support business operations must work smoothly, or not much transformational change can be realized.\nTo change much, you need information and intelligence. Here\u2019s how we CIOs get that intel.\nA long way from there\nOur role as the VP of IT in the mid-1980s has come a long way. The role was focused on IT infrastructure and getting technology deployed into the business. Then we had the international push in the late 1990s, where our global business knowledge regarding expansion strategies was tested. We started decentralizing and introducing business-process standardization. The technology was aligned with business models.\nBy the 2000s, CIOs were technology integrators. We had global system integrations, and it was vital that technology integrated with business solutions horizontally across our organizations. As we moved into the 2010s, we shifted to designing the architecture of business. Relationship orchestration and solution integration dominated most meeting discussions. Our focus was getting technology to provide on-demand business services. As we open the door to the 2020s, the role of the CIO is all of those responsibilities and more. Today, we\u2019re conductors of value and leaders of transformational change.\nBefore you, as a CIO, can change much, you need intel\u2014insights, analytics, and predictions of what will be and a reminder of what was. How do we obtain those insights to change the course of organizational analytics?\nA simple and powerful method to gain actionable intel is an organizational analytics dashboard. Why? It provides self-service access to real-time information on the health and well-being of your organization.\nSeparate the data from the visualization of that data. This could be presented from the same system or not. It\u2019s less important that they\u2019re the same and more important that data presented as information is clean and actionable. From my experience, often the entry of data and the visualization of data require different systems.\nHere are the six essential components of an actionable CIO dashboard:\n1. Business capabilities\nBusiness capabilities articulate how an organization plans to integrate and standardize to enable the organizational business model.\nBy aligning all projects, initiatives, and work to a business capability, it becomes clear how that element further enables the organizational goals and, more specifically, the business strategy.\nThere are three general views that help illustrate business capabilities:\nFirst, Gartner\u2019s Run, Grow, and Transform model quickly helps to identify if you\u2019re maintaining core systems; e.g., just keeping the lights on or truly transforming the business model of your organization. This model can be useful to build the classic images of technical debt increasing over time and spend on innovation decreasing. This is visualized with the typical chevrons left to right with dollars of spend listed annually by category.\nSecond, the Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) out of MIT looks at four different investment classes: strategic, informational, transactional, and infrastructure. This is portrayed in the visual form of a triangle. Strategic focuses on innovation, major change, facilitation, high-value adds, and deep customer interaction. Informational concentrates on increased control, better information, better integration, improved quality, and overall faster cycle times. Transactional is simply cost out and increased throughput. Infrastructure is foundational and covers business integration, business flexibility, reduced marginal cost of IT business units, reduced business cost and IT standardization.\nThird, we have the classes of business capabilities and enabling technical capabilities. Business capabilities highlight major functions that enable the organizational mission and advance initiatives e.g., in healthcare, this could be claims processing or revenue cycle. Technical capabilities enable those business capabilities, i.e., analytics or cloud computing.\nThese three views provide CIOs actionable intel on organizational initiatives and their linkage to the business strategy.\nQuestions this component of the dashboard can answer:\n\nIs the technical debt impacting our ability to innovate?\nDo we have the right balance between foundational and transformational initiatives?\nWhich are the top business capabilities we\u2019re accelerating this year?\n\n2. Balanced scorecard\nThis is a concept we\u2019ve all heard about, but no one has seen. Well, maybe we\u2019ve seen it, but it\u2019s more like a sighting of a Dodo bird\u2014more myth than reality.\nRegardless, the balanced scorecard concept is sound. The idea is that a balanced scorecard connects the business strategy to key elements such as mission (our purpose), vision (our aspirations), core values (our beliefs), strategic focus (our goals), objectives (our activities), measures (our KPIs or strategic performance), targets (our desired performance), and initiatives (our projects).\nThis connection between strategic objectives, high-level strategy, measures, and strategic initiatives provides insights into how effectively we\u2019re executing on the organizational mission.\nKey areas to cover in a scorecard that focuses on portfolio delivery might include the following:\n\nForecast vs. budget variance\nSchedule confidence for active vs. committed projects\nData validation issues per active project\nStatements of work in progress for active projects\nAverage project size per project manager or business relationship manager (BRM)\nAverage spend per project (for the current year)\n\nTogether, these elements provide you, as CIO, with information to better guide the organization.\nQuestions this view can answer:\n\nHow accurate is our ability to forecast spend?\nAre projects rolled up into programs for maximum cost and management efficiency?\nHow confident are we that we\u2019ll meet our business commitments (risk in delivery)?\n\n3. Executive portfolio summary\nThe executive portfolio summary is the heart of portfolio management\u2014how we manage strategic organizational investments.\nGenerally, there are three components to portfolio management: application portfolio, infrastructure portfolio, and project portfolio. For simplicity, we\u2019ll wrap these into a single and unified view in our dashboard.\nThere\u2019s an endless amount of information that can be included in this view. However, these are some of the most important elements:\n\nProjects \u2013 active workstreams\nProject managers \u2013 who're leading what?\nProject health \u2013 cost, schedule, scope, benefits, and quality\nValue \u2013 are we improving outcomes quantifiably?\n\nUsually, this component of the dashboard includes a lower, more detailed view with specific project information including business case, sponsor, status, budget, weekly status comments, etc.\nQuestions this view can answer:\n\nAre we spending wisely?\nAre projects moving through the pipeline smoothly, or do we have bottlenecks?\nAre we on target to deliver initiatives for the current year?\n\nThis dashboard component is often the most referenced view by leaders and team members alike.\n4. Resource management and capability planning\nThe objective of resource management is to improve the on-time execution of initiatives, view resource availability, and analyze utilization.\nThe capability planning of resources isn\u2019t only about accurately forecasting true resource demand and accounting for future resource needs. Oh sure, that\u2019s part of it, but we\u2019re talking about building the credibility of IT: Say what you\u2019ll do, and do what you say. It\u2019s expectation management. Taking the time to develop a resource-management and capability program that can be visualized as a dashboard for insights and action is one of the more significant business transformations a CIO can make.\nThere\u2019s a lot to present, but let\u2019s highlight the most useful areas:\n\nAllocations and stage\nAllocations and status\nNamed resource utilization\nAllocations by project\nAllocations by resource role\nAllocations by resource team\nView by business relationship manager (BRM)\nView by functional manager\nView by project manager\nDimensional pivots by committed work, year, project name, resource, cost, or utilization percentage.\n\nThis information empowers your organizational leaders and enables intelligence decisions. It also helps to shift into a data-driven mindset and ensure information floating up is accurate and grounded by hard data.\nQuestions this view can answer:\n\nDo we have a justification for headcount increases?\nAre organizational roles continually overallocated?\nWhich functional managers require assistance in managing their business demands?\n\nAs a CIO, I find the resource view one of the most powerful. We know we\u2019re only as good as our worst organizational link. This view helps us identify where we have weak links in the chain.\n5. Financials\nFinancial management is integral to responsibly managing portfolio investments. Financial planning is often a quarterly cycle that\u2019s all-consuming for an organization. Project managers are scrambling to true-up project forecasts. Functional managers are balancing demand with capacity. Leadership is anticipating delivery roadblocks.\nFinancials are a lagging indicator, but they still offer huge insights for a CIO. If financial spend is trailing forecast, it\u2019s a good indicator that we have influences pushing against our ability to deliver organizationally. These influences could be political, environmental, social, technological, economic or legal.\nWhen presenting financials, less is more. However, we do need the ability to drill down deep. The Six Sigma 5-Whys come to mind here. Why is the variance off? Why is that project the major contributor to our variance? Why is that vendor not responsive? Why are we paying when we\u2019re not receiving delivery? Why do we have a contract that doesn\u2019t tie deliverables to payments?\nHere are key areas of concern for visualizations:\n\nBudget\nForecast\nActuals and Accruals\nVariance and absolute variance\nVariance by project\nVariance by project manager\nVariance by functional manager\nSpend by vendor\nProjects by vendors impacted\nVendors with projects impacted\nContracts by status\nContracts by vendor\nContracts by functional manager\nContracts by business unit by vendor\n\nAccurate financials can be a game-changer when it comes to managing business expectations. Financial accuracy is a discipline and a mindset that needs to be cultivated and rewarded internally.\nQuestions this view can answer:\n\nWhich projects have a greater financial risk?\nDo we have contracts about to expire?\nHas our CapEx-to-OpEx ratio changed from our initial estimates?\n\nSolid financial management is required to scale or grow any business. A variance of 5% on $50 million is $2.5 million. However, a variance of 5% on $5 billion is $250 million. The cost of lost opportunity could be the innovation game-changer your business partners are looking for. Take the time to put the people in place, establish the processes, and invest in technology to improve financial accuracy.\n6. Investments by area (total cost of ownership)\n\u201cWhat have you done for me lately?\u201d Investments by area help to immediately quiet those business partners that feel they never get a fair shake when it comes to funding. Who was actually allocated what dollars has no relevance in their reality. These difficult business partners find a way to consume time that would be better spent on other areas. In their defense, they\u2019re often the most steadfast defenders of value for their business. We, as CIOs, need to meet them halfway.\nThe investment-by-area view tracks financial performance for their business unit. Project-cost accounting tracks financial performance of resources (employees, non-staff augmented resources and vendors), software, hardware, projects, licensing, infrastructure, vendors, run (keeping the lights on), product development (small enhancements), equipment, professional services, and more. Everything the business consumes financially is tracked in investments by area view.\nIdeally, this is project-cost accounting for each business unit rolled up to its functional head or executive leader. Not all organizations are ready for project-cost accounting. In that case, a \u201cshow back\u201d approach is useful and serves as a step in the direction of adopting project-cost accounting. This approach shows business partners their investments by area. Investments by area sound more strategic\u2014like we\u2019re investing in innovation\u2014whereas total cost of ownership sounds like we\u2019re paying off debt.\nQuestions this view can answer:\n\nHow much value is IT providing to the business?\nWhat\u2019s the financial commitment from IT to our business partners?\nIs spending on each category reasonable based on our strategy?\n\nThis approach should illustrate the end-to-end cost. This includes the cost from inception (plan, build, run) to destruction (sunsetting the technology). This complete, multiple-year view helps business partners to understand how their decisions have a direct impact on committed spend in future years.\nIs your role secure? Do you feel you have organizational and business-partner support to drive your agenda and enable the strategic mission? You might. You might not. Establishing a CIO dashboard can provide hyper transparency in your IT\u2019s ability to meet expectations. A CIO dashboard offers insightful and actionable intelligence that\u2019s vital to justify the role of the CIO. Are you justifying your role?