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Opinion: 3 ways IT can influence enterprise development

Opinion: 3 ways IT can influence enterprise development

CIOs need to be bold and transform IT into a multi-faceted asset

2013 is shaping up to be an interesting year for businesses worldwide as dated techniques give way to many technological advances across enterprises that are designed the meet rising customer expectations. This is forcing CIOs to think outside the box as their c-level counterparts sharpen their focus on what technology can do for their businesses.

Right now is the time for CIOs in Australia to make a bold move and transform IT into a multi-faceted asset.

Here are three ways CIOs and key IT decision makers can being the process of making IT more influential in enterprise development.

Break tradition

IT departments worldwide are normally tasked with maintaining and processing networks and information. But increasingly, there are some extremely talented people working in IT these days and they should be responsible for completing more than just routine tasks.

This whole process of multifaceted IT impact has to start with simply breaking tradition. As a CIO, justify your reasons to the employees and put a positive spin on it. This should be easy, as the alteration is meant to be positive for everyone involved.

Explain to them that their services and intellect can be used in more actionable ways throughout the company. Show them how their impact is felt in the company currently and where it can go if they are exposed laterally and vertically throughout the model.

Make it clear to your employees that traditions are going to cease for something more interdisciplinary. Explain to them that not only is 2013 a time for business revolution, but also for the development in their personal careers.

A systems administrator from a large corporation with supplementary knowledge about public relations and financial services will be much more marketable later on. Employees need to know this before any change occurs, and it’s your duty as CIO or team lead to let them know.

Communicate a plan

To execute the plan of enhancing IT department influence in a company, everyone needs to be on board. As a CIO or IT manager it’s imperative to reach out to the CEO, CFO and COO along with any other key people in the workplace.

Relay your plan and make it clear that you will need their assistance both in actively utilising the IT team in new ways, and also providing continued support and commitment.

It’s important at this step to have a physical plan typed out. Ideas for the strategy include but are not limited to:

  • Which other departments can’t benefit from the intelligence provided by IT staff and why?
  • What is the end goal?
  • How long should the plan take?
  • What’s in it for the employees?
  • What could the return on investment be with regards to business revenue?
  • What are the potential risks?

The specific plan will be different for each CIO, and this is the fun part. You are able to incorporate your personal ideas and visions through the plan.

Make it clear to fellow leadership that you are organised and confident. Create a mutual understanding that explains the plan as a positive for all parties involved. Because the employees are going to be asked to contribute outside of the traditional routine, they may need to be compensated higher.

These are all ideas, and are not concrete as each business is different in both structure and organisation. As a CIO, it’s your job to understand the components of your situation and utilise the most efficient course of action.

Execute

The execution phase will be determined by the plan developed for a specific business and is the most crucial step in the process. Preparation time will be pointless if it never comes to fruition.

At this point in the transition, it is your job as a CIO to begin and make the ideas actionable. It’s possible that you and fellow leaders decided, for example, that your senior software engineer has useful business development skills.

He or she may have an MBA and therefore a multifaceted impression on other areas of the business. He or she may be able to incorporate data processes to outside business development and help determine why they matter.

Reorganisation within an IT department at this step will diversify the knowledge base of the entire company by dispersing IT employees through other divisions where they can apply practical knowledge with fresh ideas and perspectives.

As a CIO, the hard part is over with if the plan was organised correctly. You have already decided how and why you are going to reorganise your IT team and now it’s simply time to make the changes. Watch your step and observe carefully, as changes will be widespread and different than ever before.

IT employees are brilliant people. Businesses in 2013 need minds like these to couple data and network awareness with operations outreach and development. It can’t hurt either way, especially if employees find personal benefit in the reorganisation. Fresh change and increased success in the marketplace is a great combination as 2013 kicks into full gear.

Grant Davis is a data modeller by day and writes by night. His passion for computers started when he discovered instant messaging in high school.

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