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10 Ways CIOs Can Run IT like a Business

We all know by now how restrictive and damaging it can be to work in silos. However, it is possible to run a business unit like IT as if it were a business without making it a silo. In an article for InformationWeek, Craig Williams, CIO of Ciena, discusses 10 ways CIOs can run IT like a business and maximize its effectiveness:

  1. Build a team of PHDs (“passion, heart, drive”).
  2. Understand IT’s link to revenue recognition and overall company success.
  3. Create a collaborative environment.
  4. Create a competitive advantage.
  5. Define your core and your context.
  6. Embrace faster delivery models.
  7. Make end-user experience a priority.
  8. Put security on top.
  9. Support a digital transformation.
  10. Be purposeful and create space.

An Efficient Machine

A robust IT begins with its people and how they interact. If you can staff IT with people who are passionate and bring integrity to the role, then those behaviors will become infectious with other business units with whom they interact. But hopefully they do not interact overly often—as is the case when people are forced into too many meetings. CIOs should encourage smart meeting practices in IT, like having the goal of a meeting established up front and then asking at the meeting’s end if that goal has been reached. Anything that can be done to keep meetings short and meaningful is a good thing, because time is money.

Defining IT’s “core” and “context” is akin in some ways to defining a business’s mission statement. Williams writes this:

It sounds simple, but many CIOs don’t take the time to define what their business model should be and how much time … they are spending there. If, for example, the IT organization is focused on developing next generation datacenters, then much of the resources should be spent on just that—hiring great experts in that field. If that’s not the core of the business, then datacenter work is context to your mission. The same goes for other services—understand what is core and what is context and determine if your IT department can do it better than anyone else.

Along with a mission, a business needs satisfied customers. Thus, IT should be fixating on the end-user experience and how it can create better experiences. The most direct way to do this is to simply solicit user feedback and compare IT’s assumptions to the users’ reality. IT must keep transforming to fit user needs and to enable competitive advantages. A business wants to come out on top, after all.

For additional elaboration, you can view the original article here: http://www.informationweek.com/strategic-cio/10-ways-cios-can-run-their-business-like-a-business/a/d-id/1328928

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