IT Governance

7 Keys to IT Success into the Future

IT has fundamentally evolved into a new and major source of value to businesses, but IT leaders are slow to understand how they specifically fit into this seismic change. What lampposts might guide the way for CIOs and other IT leaders to thrive and organize IT to deliver the most value? In an article for CIO Insight, Marc J. Schiller outlines seven distinct keys for success:

  1. The stakeholder relationship is the key driver for IT success.
  2. Stakeholder relationships can be quantified.
  3. There are (nine) building blocks of stakeholder success.
  4. There are other fundamental aspects of stakeholder success.
  5. Stakeholder relationships must succeed at three organizational levels.
  6. There is a practical roadmap to stakeholder success.
  7. Your individual success matters, because when you succeed, IT succeeds.

The New Arrangement

Clearly, Schiller places strong emphasis on managing relationships, which makes sense. If IT is to deliver optimal value, it needs to have a tight understanding of what exactly is going to deliver said value. IT has had a history of touch-and-go communication with the business though, which is why Schiller outlines various ways to measure the health and effectiveness of stakeholder relationships. For instance, his “nine building blocks of stakeholder success” are as follows: stakeholder benchmark, IT vision and strategy, strategic information systems plan, IT organization model, IT operating model, annual operating plan, performance scorecard, internal and external communications programs, and IT leadership development program.

Making those numerous building blocks connect for the intended result often relies on even more factors though. Schiller refers to these as “A, B, C’s,” or attitudes, behaviors, and communication:

Some of these A,B,Cs are global: They are general rules to follow whenever an IT team or professional engages one of the stakeholders. For example, the language IT uses, such as referring to business peers as “stakeholders” rather than “customers” goes a long way toward shifting these interactions to a successful mindset.

Other A,B,Cs apply only within certain contexts. For example, when an IT professional is building support for project approval, he or she will need to be skeptical (an Attitude), perform Nemawashi, a Japanese term that is about building consensus (a behavior), and utilize the Madison Avenue Sales Method (a style of Communication).

These ABCs permeate everything, at each organizational level of stakeholder relationships. The three levels of course include the C-level, the IT management team level, and the project team level.

Schiller wrote a book addressing how to build a practical roadmap to stakeholder success, but he mercifully gives the highlights here. His proposed roadmap consists of three parts: (1) developing credibility in order to build influence, (2) identifying fast, intuitive ways to improve communication with stakeholders, and (3) developing tactics to apply in specific situations that make you as the IT leader look good. In tandem, all of these factors add up to a reliable skeleton for future IT success.

For further thoughts, you can view the original article here:

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