Any CIO who has worked in an environment where there are two conversations\u2014the business conversation and then the IT conversation\u2014knows their company is missing out on realizing the true potential of IT. At Intuit, CIO Atticus Tysen uses shared metrics, alignment triangles, and consistent messaging to ensure that IT is the business at the $4.7 billion software company.\nHow have you turned IT from a culture of order takers to order shapers?\nWhen I first joined IT, I wanted the organization to be order shapers, so I directed my team to have a point of view on the business and to get in there with our business owners and express that point of view. That approach did not work initially.\n Intuit \nIntuit CIO Atticus Tysen\n\nSo, I realized that the goal was not to turn order takers in to order shapers but to create a team of collaborative business problem solvers\u2014to build a team of IT leaders who would take one primary question to their partners: what is the business outcome we are driving toward?\nHow are you ensuring that your IT organization is focused on business objectives?\nIntuit makes good use of alignment triangles. Brad Smith, our CEO, has an alignment triangle for the entire company, and each major group has its own that aligns to the company mission. The two rows at the top, \u201cValues\u201d and \u201cTrue North Goals\u201d are the same for everyone in the organization. The rest are unique to my team.\nSpecifically for IT, we have four pillars: world class IT, business outcomes first, delightful leading-edge solutions, and proactive technology stewards. Each pillar is underpinned by several very clear priorities.\nFor example, \u201cbusiness outcomes first\u201d is supported by \u201cflawless day one and ongoing support for the entire workforce.\u201d When you are a new employee at Intuit, we will have you up and running within an hour. You\u2019ll have a laptop, mobile device, and anything else you need to do your job. If you are a developer, you can start coding right way; if you are in procurement, you can start procuring. We measure our performance on that priority.\n Intuit\n\n download \nIntuit Enterprise Business Solutions\n\u00a0\n\n\nWe look at the number of help desk tickets logged by an employee in his or her first week, and IT follows new employees around and observes any problems they encounter. Based on what we learned from those metrics and observations, we proactively made the decision to schedule an appointment at our TechKnow Bar, inspired by Apple\u2019s Genius Bar, with every new employee. The TechKnow Bars have a list of questions employees ask the most; this way, we can begin helping new employees before they even ask us anything.\nAll of this is an example of business outcomes first: Our goal in IT is to \u201cget our employees productive,\u201d not \u201cget them a laptop.\u201d If you think about the business outcome first, you find creative ways to solve a problem. \u00a0\nCan you discuss another priority?\nI can talk about \u201cenable flawless billing and commerce experiences.\u201d One of the metrics we track against that priority is the percentage of customers billed correctly. Our goal is 99.990 percent. In February, we were 99.823 and then 99.932 in March.\nAt first, my team resisted when we decided on this metric. They did not want to be accountable for another group\u2019s mistake. For example, if someone in marketing sets up an offering incorrectly so that the customer receives the wrong billing, then the flawless billing metric takes a hit. My team felt that we should only be tracking metrics like uptime for the billing system.\nBut they soon realized the value of the business outcomes metric. They came to understand that their job in technology is to come up with the right solutions to improve billing accuracy overall, not to run a batch billing job overnight. We should be building systems that do not allow marketing to set up an offering incorrectly.\nThe business metric also improves the dialogue across departments. The head of billing systems cannot control the way marketing inputs customer data, but because they share a business outcome, they talk to each other about how to solve inaccuracy problems. The business metrics encourage the kind of problem solving conversations we should all be having.\nWhat advice can you share on developing a business outcomes culture?\nAs you focus on business metrics, you cannot throw out the traditional IT metrics. You still have to commit to metrics like three nines of system availability and RTO (recovery time objective) of less than fifteen minutes. Hitting those flawlessly is your ticket to entry to creating a business outcomes culture. Traditional IT metrics are not only table stakes, they also allow you to differentiate a business process problem from a systems problem.\nIn a digital era, IT people must think differently than in the industrial era. How would you define digital thinking?\nWhether we are in high tech, manufacturing, or retail, we all need to understand that technology no longer enables business strategy; it is the business strategy. If you relegate IT to the back office, you will lose. The IT group understands, more than any other function, exactly how the company operates and where the bottlenecks are. They can bring that understanding into the conversation and figure out how technology can drive business outcomes.\nBut integrating IT with business strategy isn\u2019t easy. As CIOs, we need to encourage our teams to demand the business conversation, to go into the CMO or CEO and say, \u201cHere is what I think.\u201d We need to commend our teams based on customers billed correctly, not on uptime. But we also need to recognize that we are changing human behavior, and that kind of change requires constant focus. But the stakes are high. When we bring IT into the heart of the company, we innovate more and deliver faster. When we make IT a part of our business strategy, we win.\nAbout Atticus Tysen\nAtticus Tysen, senior vice president and CIO, is responsible for the applications supporting the company's human resources, finance, marketing and sales and support organizations. Before being promoted to his current role in 2013, Tysen was vice president of product development for Intuit's Financial Management Solutions group. Since joining Intuit in 2002, he has also served as director of new technology and led the company's patent program. Previously, Tysen was vice president of engineering at Aveo, Inc. Prior to Aveo, he worked as a software engineering manager at OCTel and Apple Computer.\nTysen holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Stanford University.