CIOs As Rainmakers: The New Meme, Deconstructed
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User Rank: Apprentice
12/10/2012 | 10:07:21 AM
re: CIOs As Rainmakers: The New Meme, Deconstructed
What i believe is really needed , is a more measurable and tangible way to demonstrate to the business the contributions that IT is making by supporting the business units engaged in generating revenue for the firm. In that way we position IT as one which is directly linked with revenue generation , rather than just being a pure cost center or a necessary evil or a burden to the business. It might mean a totally newer way of accounting for the business all together or we can have something midway , where the IT department maintains parallel account of the cost the company would have to bear if it was to be provided with the equivalent level of IT related services and resources to make its business function, through an outsourced or external provider. There could be other ways of positioning and allocating the cost-benefit of business projects with strong IT components like ERP systems for example. A reasonable portion of the revenue generated by the sales team could be allocated to the ERP systems in place (which are direct facilitators of the top-line growth) and thus should be transferred to the IT department revenue generation, since they are the department primarily supporting the ERP system (and more so if the expenses of buying and running the ERP have been pushed under IT projects).
This would be a more equitable way of looking at things and would also help in identifying the true worth and value (and even the inefficiencies) of the IT department. Building up more visibility of the IT department functioning in financial terms is the only and the best way to bridge the divide between CIO's and CFO/CEO's.
User Rank: Strategist
12/6/2012 | 8:44:40 PM
re: CIOs As Rainmakers: The New Meme, Deconstructed
As I read the article, one recommendation came across which is don't chase the fashionable catch phrase of the moment whether that is "new rainmaker" or "business alignment" or "business innovator." They all imply the same thing, focus on the business core which I try to do to the dismay of some of the IT staff when they are reminded they are a supporting group of the bank, hospital, or retail company (WalMart, HomeDepot, Lowes, etc.) and following the IT fad of the moment does not always align with the business.

I hate following catch phrases just because and not using the fashion phrase of the moment will get you criticized as being out of touch, but you simply cannot loose sight of the core business you are in and if you, the CIO, try to tell a branch manager which products he should be selling or making patient diagnosis, then I see a dark future for you in the firm. I agree then that IT is not primarily the "rainmaker" but the rain can be measured by showing savings through improved processes or lowered waste and this would be the rain to show the CEO/CFO as profit.
User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2012 | 7:21:51 PM
re: CIOs As Rainmakers: The New Meme, Deconstructed
What happens when you stop worrying about keeping the lights on...? Well, if you do it to your house, you let the paint go another five or ten years. That roof? It can last a while longer, it's not leaking badly. A crack in the foundation, it's nothing... It doesn't take long until you've undone the value of your home. Why should IT infrastructure be any different?

Let's hear it for keeping the lights on. It's a thankless job, but things go south in a hurry when you stop worrying about it.

The way we talk about IT's relationship to other business units is wrong. We're not there to out-revenue them, we're there largely to help them do what they do better. I recall a pundit saying that aligning IT to the business was wrong headed, what IT needed to do was align to the customer - forget about what the business needs. It's just not helpful.

(I work here, and Jonathan and i go back a few years!)
Heather Vallis
Heather Vallis,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2012 | 3:15:12 PM
re: CIOs As Rainmakers: The New Meme, Deconstructed
You make some great points, Jonathan. These days IT is expected to drive business innovation, rather than just "keep the lights on". The good news is, according to our recent Outlook 2013 Survey, that 85% of business tech pros say their IT organization somewhat or significantly improved their company's operations or products in 2012 and 60% say IT is core to nearly every part of the business or considered in their company's overall growth strategy. That said, the top IT projects for 2013 are internally focused: improving security, upgrading network and storage infrastructure. IT needs to focus more externally on projects that affect the customer directly.

Heather Vallis
Managing Editor, Research

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