'What do we get for our IT spending?': A CIO's response

'What do we get for our IT spending?': A CIO's response

CIOs who change the conversation from cost to value are taking the right steps to move away from the cost cutting cycle. But how do you shift the focus?

Support a 360-degree approach

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IT cost optimisation approached from a 360-degree perspective enables far greater exploitation of new business-IT opportunities than does focusing on IT price/performance alone. Embracing a 360-degree perspective implies that CIOs will increasingly focus on business outcomes, not technology.

CIOs must, however, continue to oversee a reliable and mature IT service organisation and deliver new programs efficiently with a highly skilled business-IT team. They should continue to execute disciplined cost management to ensure they provide business capability efficiently and are leveraging the best possible unit costs.

At the same time, it’s critical to adopt new approaches to generate business value by contributing to improved business processes, optimising information delivery and helping to implement new digital business models that enhance their enterprise's efficiency and effectiveness. With these foundational capabilities in place, a CIO can get the right decision makers at the table to prioritise and support opportunities.

Embracing a 360-degree perspective implies that CIOs will increasingly focus on business outcomes, not technology.

John Roberts, Gartner

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Become a collaborative digital leader

Digital business challenges IT because many of the underpinning technologies are outside the domain of the traditional IT organisation. In addition, IT organisations that operate as in-house technology service providers rather than as proactive business partners, commonly lack the skills needed to engage in the broader business discussions demanded by digital business.

Moving toward collaborative digital technology leadership means breaking down the barriers between the IT organisation and other technology enablers of the enterprise. Digital technology leadership requires people with different perspectives, mindsets and responsibilities to work collaboratively on creating business value.

To create business value in a digital world, CIOs must help establish a new leadership team that includes business peers and other relevant stakeholders — all collaborating to integrate, coordinate and lead digital initiatives throughout the enterprise and its ecosystem.

CIOs must make strong, business-oriented contributions to the evolving digital business strategy. They must champion the business value of information and technology by engaging, leading and collaborating with all relevant stakeholders.

The new leadership team that CIOs help establish, and in which they participate, will integrate and coordinate initiatives throughout the enterprise and its ecosystem, creating business value in a digital world.

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John Roberts is a research vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner's CIO and Executive Leadership research team, specialising in helping CIOs and IT leaders develop effective IT strategies that contribute to business transformation. He provides advice on IT strategies and governance, business value of IT, IT cost and value optimisation, improving business processes, IT organisation management strategies and skills, and IT performance metrics and satisfaction surveys.

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