Top Tips from the CIO 100: 15 Ways to Create Innovation with IT

Making businesspeople comfortable and using technologies you already have are just two ideas you can steal from CIO 100 winners to make yourself a better innovator.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2

9. Look for Silver Linings

Required projects such as complying with regulations don't have to be painful if you use them as opportunities to improve operations, says Ron DePoalo, CTO of the Merrill Lynch Global Private Client technology group. He used Check 21 legislation (which encourages banks to process check images rather than paper) as a catalyst to improve customer service and save money.

10. Use What You Have

Winning management buy-in on an enterprisewide IT project isn't only about justifying investment dollars. Rather, says Karan Sorensen, CIO at Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development, it's equally important to take advantage of existing resources "so that when you look from a cost perspective, there's a high degree of leveraging."

11. Explain Yourself

Major innovation can mean major changes in how employees work. Delphi CIO Bette Walker says it's important to deliver a clear, consistent and concise message to frontline workers to avoid attrition and poor morale. A carefully crafted strategic communications plan shouldn't just appeal to senior-level executives.

12. The Best Solution May Not Be Yours

"I can code in seven different languages, but I'm a business guy," says Samuel Gaer, executive VP and CIO of the New York Mercantile Exchange. When Gaer proposed listing Nymex's energy futures contracts on the well-established Globex platform run by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he told his boss: "This has nothing to do with a lack of faith in our abilities; this has everything to do with a forward-looking business relationship."

13. Seek Skills You Don't Have

A successful collaboration pairs partners with complementary skills. "Mitch [Davis, CIO at Bowdoin College] is the king of the creative idea," says Erin Griffin, VP of IT and CIO of Loyola Marymount University. "I'm [a] process and planning person." The two organizations built a joint disaster recovery system. "Not only did our staffs have complementary skills," says Griffin. "We did as well."

14. Grow With the Business

To be considered a partner in innovation, IT needs to move forward in sync with the business. "If [the business] keeps looking backward and IT is still in the same place, that's a problem," says K&L Gates CIO Steven Agnoli. Moreover, your IT strategy must mirror (and help to realize) the strategic goals of the business. Thinking too far ahead can create just as much of a mismatch as not moving fast enough.

15. Harness Creativity Through Diversity

At the outset of a project, bring together the best and brightest from a multitude of disciplines, recommends Marriott VP of Enterprise Security Kathy Memenza, who led the company's project to encrypt and monitor the use of credit card data using public key technology. Team members from enterprise technology planning and engineering, architecture, and security, among other Marriott departments, brought unique and varied experiences related to protecting and using customer data that no single person or single department possessed alone.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

1 2 Page 2
Page 2 of 2
Discover what your peers are reading. Sign up for our FREE email newsletters today!