by Thomas Wailgum

CIOs: How to ‘Hassle the Locals’ the Right Way

Apr 07, 2010
Enterprise Applications

Forrester Research offers an IT checklist for managing "enterprise versus local" tech trade-offs.

You’ve probably seen one of these T-shirts at some point in your life: “Don’t Hassle Me, I’m Local,” proclaims the shirt. It’s typically dirty and worn by someone who, as my father would say, looks “a little shaky.” (Think: Bill Murray’s character in What About Bob? In my experience, it’s best to avoid anyone with this shirt on.) 

Don't Hassle Me, I'm Local T-shirt

Many CIOs encounter that same type of emboldened resistance when it comes time to rationalize the enterprise software bloat and legacy ERP, CRM or supply chain apps that have accrued over the years: whether from M&A activity, global expansion or application portfolio negligence.

Regardless of the exact reason, this is a problem that more and more IT departments, LOB managers and governance committees have had to deal with since the New Normal began wreaking havoc in 2008.

Therefore, the leadership need and IT challenge for CIOs is clear but complex: Balance enterprisewide demands for operational and IT efficiencies and potential cost savings with the unique, entrenched local computing needs, writes Bobby Cameron, a principal analyst at Forrester Research, in a new report.

“CIOs and their business sponsors must constantly make tradeoffs that result in conflict and negotiation, challenging the CIOs’ people and business skills,” Cameron writes. “The CIO’s enterprise-local balancing act is not simple—nor are the approaches that have to be taken to achieve and maintain that balance.”

Business sponsors and IT executives leading this type of change first need to win the hearts and minds of everyone involved—from top to bottom. These leaders need to offer understanding (explain why this new strategic direction is imperative), consistency (the only way to gain confidence and trust is by being predictable in the change) and transparency (provide tons of communication on projects and application portfolio changes), Cameron writes.

Here is Cameron’s action-oriented checklist for CIOs on how to manage those dicey “enterprise versus local” tradeoff strategies.

Forrester Research chart on CIO Checklist

Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

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