by Dan Muse

CIOs Discuss How They Convey IT Value to the Business

Jan 12, 20153 mins
Business IT AlignmentCIOIT Leadership

In the first installment of CIO Quick Takes, we asked three tech executives how they ensure that the business knows the value of IT.

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Credit: Thinkstock

Welcome to CIO Quick Takes, a series of brief, anecdotal reports produced in partnership with the CIO Executive Council. The challenges — and opportunities — for CIOs have never been greater. Roles are evolving, budgets are shifting, IT is getting a SMAC down, the line between consumer and enterprise products is virtually gone, the IT skills gap is widening … . For all those reasons and many more, we know the questions are swirling.

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David Chou , CIO of the University of Mississippi Medical Center: ‘Stay clear of tech lingo.’

In an attempt to answer a few of those, in each short (we know you’re a busy bunch) installment, we ask top IT executives a question we think is on of the minds of readers.

In our first installment we asked three CIOs to share their thoughts on following question:

How do you communicate the value of IT to the business?

David Chou , CIO of the University of Mississippi Medical Center

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Steve Snyder, CIO, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority: ‘Make someone else the hero.’

The role of IT has evolved from being a transactional department to the new era of being more strategic. Communicating the value of IT is critical for new era of IT leaders. I recommend that effective IT communication follows the three bullet points below:

  1. IT initiatives MUST tie to a business outcome or strategy
  2. Stay clear of tech lingo when communicating
  3. Set the communication that all IT projects are now Business Projects
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Bob Lim, CIO at the University of Kansas: ‘Extend value to customers beyond technology.’.

Steve Snyder, CIO, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority

I have found my most effective communication happens after I throw out the IT jargon and speak in clear business terms. ‘We have saved the company X amount of dollars by doing this … .’ Additionally, I think it makes it less self-serving if you can make someone else the hero by saying something like; ‘CFO Bob and his team were hugely valuable in successfully completing this project on time and on budget because they partnered with the IT team.’ There is nothing that communicates the value of IT more than delivering success. Finally, once you have done something it is imperative to communicate the value of the system, process or solution to the business.

Bob Lim, CIO at the Unversity of Kansas.

We use a ‘show and tell’ approach in communicating the value of IT for the University of Kansas. We show our customers through our understanding of their business environment and by demonstrating through everyday actions and decisions that we are a trusted business partner focused on enabling and accelerating their success. The key performance indicators we regularly tell our customers communicate the tangible value we provide through cost savings and other metrics. Because we are experts in managing complex systems and processes, we can provide extended value to customers beyond technology. This is one of the key messages that helps communicate our value to the University of Kansas.

Tell Us More

How do you communicate the value of IT to the business? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or you can connect with me here. Or if you have a question you’d like us to ask, let me know or drop us a note on Twitter (@CIOonline).