"Moving from the days of craftsmanship of the IT "wizards" through the stage of industrialization where our organizations use technology as a tool to run a reliable operation, we've now entered into the stage of digitalization where the walls between business and IT are coming down." This is how Michael O'Brien introduced the November luncheon program. What to do once the walls come down was the focus of the discussion.
Michael and the three other expert speakers - John Sullivan, Dave DeLorenzo and Alan Levine shared their insight by addressing many related questions. These are a few from their experience:
- On Reporting Relationships: The key criteria is not who IT reports to - the ED or the CFO - but whether or not IT has a voice at the table and leadership that listen to that voice when decisions are made.
- On IT as a change agent: Mature tech leadership can help innovate, but can only be effective if it is in sync with the rest of the organization. Whether the pace of change is glacial or explosive, the CIO needs to align the IT vision with the organization's readiness to embrace change.
- On the IT strategic plan: There is only ONE strategic plan - and that's the organization's strategic plan.
- On IT and the rest of the staff: A CIO who listens to staff keeps track of their "pain points" and their "wish lists" to move the organization forward. Recognize that each department now has within it some IT experience and is ready to be included in decisions for change.
- On Communications: IT must speak "business" and business needs to learn to speak IT.
IT in 2014 is no longer a tool of the organization, but has become a strategy. The "hot button issue" is learning how to embrace that evolution and benefit from it.