by Greg Gilmore

Putting work and resource management on the CIO agenda where it belongs

Aug 29, 2017
CIOEnterprise ApplicationsIT Governance

The CIO is in a unique position to equip teams across the organization with collaborative tools that meet security and technology standards and enable the new virtual, global workforce.

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Credit: iStock

Management used to be much simpler. Keep an eye on operating expenses, invest in a talented workforce, deliver products and services on time, and make sure expenses never exceed income. That was before my refrigerator could tell my phone to remind me we are out of milk.

The “digital transformation” is redefining business as we know it … while we watch from the windows of our self-driving cars.

The changing role of the CIO

If you are reading this, you know we are in the middle of a revolution that has made the CIO role more complex than ever. Protecting data and networks is just part of your job now. Many of you have already been asked to turn the data on your networks into business insights that can win customers and drive revenue. The “16th State of the CIO” research recently showed that CEOs still expect CIOs to simplify and upgrade IT and improve security. But CEOs also want CIOs to focus on customer acquisition and retention, leading product innovation and collaborating on customer initiatives.

All levels of management are affected by four fundamental shifts:

  • Digital transformation of every industry. Technology and data permeate and connect everything. You know this all too well. From the cloud, to your desktop, laptop, and mobile phone, to your car and smart home, we are surrounded by data that is making decisions for us every day.
  • Convergence of products and technology. Businesses are trying to figure out how to incorporate technology into everything they do. From what they sell to how they sell it and how they interact with customers. IT is often heavily involved in product development.
  • Increasing pace of innovation. Thirty years ago, nobody owned a personal computer. More data crosses the internet every second than was stored on the entire internet just 20 years ago. Ten years ago, your phone was not smart. Innovation is proceeding at a blistering pace, and the potential for organizations and our customers is only limited by our imagination.
  • Fundamental workforce changes. There are five generations in the workforce now. And their work styles and preferences could not be more different. You might have an employee with deep knowledge but an aversion to online calendars. You might have a new graduate that does everything on a mobile device. Some work from home, some across the globe. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that 79 percent of knowledge workers always or frequently work in dispersed teams while 41 percent of teams never even meet in person, according to a 2016 report by CultureWizard.

That’s a lot of challenges, and you, as the CIO, need to care. Why? Your CEO expects you to have the answers.

Right now, 52 percent of organizations admittedly can’t adequately perform scenario planning to optimize work and resources, according to Ventana Research. In addition, KPMG’s 2016 CEO Outlook found that 82 percent of CEOs worry their offerings will be irrelevant to customers in three years. Chances are your CEO is one of them and looking to you for some answers. It’s time for the CIO to come to the table with ways to connect directly with customers to stay relevant.

The world has changed. CIOs need to change the way they manage it. We live and work in a world of continuously integrated and interrelated systems. We need to be able to decipher the parts and put together the best blend of both that allows us to keep pace and innovate faster. In addition, organizations need to understand which business capabilities advance overall goals and strategies and deliver new ones to drive profit. It’s time to mine that data for answers, insights, and new capabilities.

Find your innovators

Flowserve, a multinational company of 19,000 employees across 60 countries and one of the largest suppliers of industrial and environmental machinery for critical industries, understands all too well the pressure to constantly innovate. When the Flowserve research and development team wanted to improve the product development process, the team focused on breaking down the company’s internal barriers between departments to expand disciplines in project management and resource utilization. Flowserve used a collaborative process workshop to identify 52 improvement opportunities to the product development process. The result has been a robust innovation engine that transcends department boundaries and truly encompasses an integrated approach to product development. Now, 1,000 employees collaborate to innovate across the organization. What could you do with 1,000 innovators?

Start collaborating

For CIOs, the first step is acknowledging the incredible amount of unstructured work inherent in any organization, then supporting requests for technology that improves work collaboration.

Project management, lean, agile, phase-gate – all work methods that have traditionally been the domain of IT are giving way to more collaborative work environments as virtual teams marry work styles across a digital workplace. In fact, the largest body of work in any organization is the day-to-day, unstructured work that employees do both individually and in teams. From firefighting to informal projects, employees and teams spend a significant amount of time and energy on projects which may or may not be formally tracked.

The CIO is in a unique position to equip teams across the organization with collaborative tools that meet security and technology standards and enable the new virtual, global workforce. We have worked with a highly technical company for several years to combine a collaborative work space with PPM governance across the IT organization. The combination enabled the company to complete 94 percent of projects on time, compared to a sub-50 percent completion rate 18 months prior. Collaboration, helping teams combine their work styles, can be a catalyst for efficiency. And that leaves more room for innovation. In fact, our own research shows that 80 percent of organizations that excel at capacity planning are able to act on new opportunities in hours instead of weeks.

Work and resource management

Understanding, prioritizing, and managing work and resources across the organization can help companies of any size and industry line up capabilities and outcomes to achieve strategic objectives and goals.

Your peers are already putting money toward goals beyond data security. According to the “16th State of the CIO,” CIOs are directing more budget toward business initiatives such as improving customer experience (40 percent), improving business processes (40 percent) and increasing operational efficiency (35 percent), and growing the business (33 percent).

They are realizing it’s not just about managing people, finances, and buildings. Your resources include virtual teams, technology, locations, connected devices, even skills. Consider how you manage that along with all the ways people want to work.

In the coming months, I’ll share additional insights from companies that are already ditching paradigms that just don’t work anymore, outdated ideas such as annual plans that are outdated as soon as you hit “send,” co-locating disparate workforces, and enforcing a one-size-fits-all approach to work.

Let’s talk about what it will take to innovate during a revolution:

  • Shift to continuous planning.
  • Maximize virtual and global teams.
  • Leverage technology effectively.
  • Support diverse work methods and mobility.

Are you ready?