Four tips on talking to the Board

I've often found that there is a significant disconnect between the value that IT delivers to the business and its influence on the organisation's broader strategy.

Ask a CIO what words they associate with technology and you are likely to hear things like innovation, value, and responsiveness.

But ask the Board about IT and chances are that you'll hear cost, risk and operations.

Please mind the gap
IT should have a massive influence on the direction and development of the business strategy. So what is holding IT back from taking their rightful place as the Board's most trusted business advisor?

In part, the challenge is one of perception. Technology is often seen as an operational function; the grease in the wheels rather than the steering column.

When CIOs are brought into the boardroom, it is often to discuss risk and respond to concerns, rather than provide strategic guidance or pitch new opportunities for growth.

But it is also a symptom of reporting structure. A recent survey by KPMG found that more than 60 per cent of CIOs still report through another executive such as the CFO or the COO.

As a result, they frequently find themselves couching their ideas within the framework of either finance or operations and, as a result, are often unable to break out of the operational mould placed on them by the business.

Winning a place for IT in the boardroom
CIOs will need to step up their game and be more proactive with the business if they hope to gain more influence around the boardroom table.

In large part, this will require IT to place a stronger focus on aligning IT to the business, both at the board and at the business unit level.

And while some CIOs have clearly managed to achieve this statistics show that only four percent actually make this leap.

Here are some tips on what CIOs can do to increase their influence on the board and the business strategy:

Get the operational stuff right:
First and foremost, CIOs must make sure that the operational aspects of the IT function are not only running efficiently and effectively, but also that they are maturing and becoming more stable in the long-term.

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