Archive Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Once And Future CIO-CTO

I’m taking the gloves off. I’m raising my voice in victory.

The 2018 State of the CIO Survey is out as reported by CIO.com. 

  • 71% of IT and LOB (Lines of Business) collaborate more frequently.
  • 88% understand the CIO-CTO role to be more digital and innovation focused, with top priority focus being strategic, transformational and then functional.
  • 88% are involved in transformation efforts, including business alignment, IT and business partnership and change leadership.
  • 49% of LOB now consider IT a strategic adviser.
  • CEO’s are now looking for the CIO-CTO to upgrade IT and data security to avoid cyber-attacks, to reach specific revenue growth goals and to lead digital business initiatives. 
  • IT and LOB are giving top priority to increase operational efficiency, improve customer experience and increase cyber-security precautions.

I have been fighting for this. Let the keywords and buzzwords stand out: Collaboration. Digital Transformation. Adviser. Partnership.

#collaboration
#digitaltransformation
#adviser
#partnership

Yes!

This is what I do: I contend for you so that you work boldly, rest easily and maximize every opportunity. And the opportunity to maximize: To raise your position as a CIO to the presence and power you need.

Your effectiveness and success is exactly what the CEO and C-Suites have been wanting but not knowing how to craft. You have long sounded the message that your IT team is more than specialists in their own tucked away area, and your team has desired to be more than functionaries without connection to the larger enterprise. Certainly, you have long argued, you are not the team that is a blockade to progress. 

It doesn’t matter that what is called upon from you may be outside the training you received. You have what it takes, and the leadership adjustments, collaborative skills and persuasion management are priorities you can learn from peers and in the midst of work within the C-Suite. 

Momentum. That is what we have been building to, and now it has taken hold. You are not alone. Success stories, case studies and learned peers now abound. The need has come to you. The very nature of business now is nothing you had to craft. Its evolution has remade itself to the very core of who you are and what you bring. 

You have what it takes, and the leadership adjustments, collaborative skills and persuasion management are priorities you can learn from peers and in the midst of work within the C-Suite. 

The time between shifts are short, but you now possess the agility to ride the waves that come your way. For this, your C-Suite peers are grateful: The technology, language and processes the marketplace demands are too great for your peers to respond to without your leadership. You never cared about position really: You have had to prioritize your presence and power. This is no longer your fight. Never before have you experienced the invitation for influence that is now yours. The support will grow, and the survey numbers will become even more favorable. The future has revealed herself, and you sit at her right hand. 

So pause for a moment, just to breathe in the air of having arrived. Now, let’s get to work. We are needed, and we can’t rest content. Our growth edge is even more keen.

As we close this year and look to the next, I am available to you. I trust my words help here and in my newsletter. For those of you I can serve in my Mastermind group, or those who choose to become a client, we have ahead the best year yet, and it is my privilege to ride the waves with you.

I am available to you because I have contended for you. The fight is worth everything I give to it. Congratulations my friends. 

CFO: Do You Know If Your Technology Is A Liability Or Asset?

The CIO is now being seen more as the right hand to the CEO. But does that mean everything the CIO contends for is worth the investment?

Technology turns over every 2-3 years. How do you know if the current technology in place is a liability on your business or an asset, leveraging exactly what you need?

It’s difficult to know the answer in the changing landscape of digital transformation and the roles of C-Suite Executives. The CIO is now being seen more as the right hand to the CEO. But does that mean everything the CIO contends for is worth the investment?

As the CIO role develops, their priorities are shifting. Whereas saving costs was the number 1 priority in 2013 to 71% of CIO respondents (hear the applause of the CFO in the background), now only 55% of respondents place cost as high priority. Also in decline is the CIO priority of increasing operational efficiency and delivering stable IT performance. Instead, improving business processes, developing products and enhancing customer experience is gaining higher priority, and those have new technologies and costs associated with them.

Whereas the CIO was an operator and technologist, they now focus more on being strategist and catalyst, aligning business with IT strategies and promoting innovation.

What is a CFO to do?

Technology becomes a liability when the following is true:

1.   When you are trying to keep up rather than step up.

The fourth most common two-word term in recent earnings calls is machine-learning. It’s such an assumed part of our future that companies are beginning to jump into technology that has no use cases verification. AI requires significant customization (and therefore, costs) before it provides value. Technology exists to help companies step up to what they must accomplish. Just trying to keep up is a recipe for wasted expense and hidden costs difficult to calculate. Not only is time money, timing is money.

2.   When you are playing it safe rather than keeping it real.

Technology turnover requires divesting one’s self of prior beliefs, of keeping an open mind and refusing to be bound to few solutions.

One-half of all strategic initiatives fail when strategy and delivery are disconnected. Out of date and obsolete technology is a significant liability when it blocks the business driver.

Will your essential business outcome be able to be carried by your current technology?

3.   When you are serving technology rather than technology serving you.

Anytime you are structuring procedures and processes around the technology available to you, or anytime you are just trying to get the same output for less cost, you are serving technology. If your training costs and hidden costs are being invested in current technology that lags behind your need, you are serving technology. Anytime you are covering for less than best customer experience, you are serving technology (Customers don’t care if you are operating off of a legacy system or modern system. They do care about the ease of their experience).

But when technology is serving you, then technology is an asset:

  • If it improves business processes
  • If it delivers stable IT performance
  • If it increases operational efficiency
  • If it saves money
  • If it develops new products and services that are revenue generators
  • And most of all, if it enhances the customer experience

In the end, as CFO you need to concern yourself with one question: Will the technology we have deliver the business outcomes we established?

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