The Best Best Practices

The Best Best Practices

CIO Research reveals the basic building blocks of IT as a business

As a CIO, you have more than enough responsibilities as chief technology strategist, vendor manager, Web overlord and security officer. Now, with the mandate to run the IT function like a business, you also have to be a CEO - planning and executing IT financial controls, marketing campaigns, HR strategies, customer service efforts and all the other disciplines that make a business run. There are probably hundreds of discrete practices that fall into these areas. We focused on more than 40 in the "How to Run IT Like a Business" survey, which was completed by more than 100 IT executives at companies hand-picked for their excellent IT reputations. But you don't have to master all of these to do a credible job and capture the benefits. A handful of practices emerged as must-dos, common denominators for you to use as a foundation. And since respondents rated each practice in terms of its effectiveness and difficulty level, we've been able to draw conclusions about their relative return on investment. You can see at a glance in the following pages which practices will reward you more (or less) profitably for your effort.

For further discovery, use our online "IT as a Business Profiler" ( With this tool, you can input your specific goal for running IT like a business and, based on the data, we'll compute a profile of practices optimized for achieving that benefit.


  • Regularly use portfolio management or other project prioritization methodology: 4.11
  • Employ an IT-dedicated financial officer: 3.98
  • Make the CIO a member of the corporate board or executive committee: 3.97
  • Employ IT department-dedicated business-type positions: 3.69
  • Win and showcase IT awards: 3.66

(Ratings based on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 was least effective and 5 was completely effective.)


  • Regularly use project management methodologies: 96%
  • Conduct regular strategic planning meetings to achieve alignment: 93%
  • Conduct internal customer satisfaction surveys: 86%
  • Create and use performance metrics: 81%
  • Regularly use portfolio management or other project prioritization methodology: 80%
  • Perform financial audits: 79%
  • Use leadership development programs: 79%
  • Make the CIO a member of the corporate board or executive committee: 76%
  • Employ internal relationship managers/account executives to work with the business: 75%
  • Conduct post-implementation audits: 74%

(Percentages refer to number of respondents using this practice.)

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