Good leadership, at its essence, means knowing how to ask the right questions. In practically every profession and walk of life, the leaders and innovators made their mark by knowing exactly what they needed to do to fill in all those pesky blanks that stood in the way of finding good solutions.
As CIOs have been evolving into business leaders over the past five years, too many have failed to ask the right questions, according to Fred Gattelaro, who leads a US-based full-service business and technology consulting firm called West Monroe Partners.
If CIOs took the trouble to ask questions like "is IT spending aligned with critical business priorities"? and "can IT respond rapidly to new priorities and opportunities as business conditions change"? chances are the answer they got back would be a resounding "no."
And that answer, Gattelaro says, should be a red flag that inspires the IT talent management process and acts as a trigger for reallocating IT budgets from support and maintenance activities to strategic activities that have a meaningful impact on the business. Such moves can make IT far less likely to be seen only as the "software and tech support guys" and much more likely to be recognized for real contributions to real business value.
Once considered purely operational, the CIO is now a vital part of planning and delivering business strategy who is continuously asked to do more with less and to demonstrate their value to the business. To meet the needs of their new role, CIOs and IT leaders are streamlining their planning and delivery processes through IT demand management, a set of processes designed to balance supply and demand of limited IT resources and align them with critical business priorities. That makes talent management even more of a strategic planning process, rather than a departmental HR issue.
Evaluating and refining key processes critical to this solution - demand measurement and capture, portfolio/resource/financial management, portfolio and project performance management - gives significant and quantifiable benefits, Gattelaro says. They include reduction in IT spend, improved resource efficiency, faster and more reliable project completion, improved customer and employee satisfaction and retention, and of course, greater ROI on IT at less risk.
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