To be an effective CIO, you need to do six things:
1. You must be on the executive team.
2. You have to engage senior business managers in IT projects.
3. You must also include users in the same projects.
4. You need a high-level group to make IT decisions.
5. You must communicate regularly with end users.
6. You have to assign IT staff as liaisons to business units.
That's the conclusion of leading CIOs who participated in our "State of the CIO 2004" survey. From among the respondents, CIO editors and staff culled a subgroup that we judged to exemplify best practices for IT executives based on their responses to particular questions. Those best practices CIOs then ranked the actions they deemed most critical to successfully leading IT in their organizations. According to these top-flight CIOs, there are six - and only six - essential practices that CIOs must undertake to be effective in their jobs and ensure that IT is adding maximum value to their organizations.
But it's one thing to know what you need to do to be successful; it's another to do it.
In interviews, more than a dozen of the best practices CIOs share the techniques that make them successful. Some of them you may already be doing. Some of them you may want to enhance with the suggestions that follow - while others may be impractical or too costly, but they are all worthy of consideration.
BEST PRACTICE 1
78 percent of CIOs say: Get on the executive team
The Buck Starts There How to get the executive committee on your side
The single most important management practice, according to best practices CIOs in "The "State of the CIO 2004" survey, is participation in the executive team.
But simply having a keycard to the corner suite won't necessarily make a CIO more effective. Leading CIOs said it's how they use their access that provides the advantage. Here's what they said to do.
Join the Team Just over 50 percent of CIOs are already members of their companies' executive teams, according to our survey. These CIOs already have a CEO who views technology as strategic and understands that technology can help the company grow. The other 49 percent needs to find a way to get in the club. So what's the key that opens the door? You need to convince your CEO that technology is central to building and maintaining the company's competitive advantage. It's logical to include the CIO on an executive committee, which typically encompasses marketing, sales, finance, human resources and other business enablers, so that every aspect of running the company is represented.
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