IT Best PracticesIT Governance

3 Steps for Midsize-Enterprise CIOs to Drive Better Business

Midsize enterprises aren’t quite the juggernauts pushing the latest trends in an underground bunker somewhere, but they’re also not the mom-and-pop shop on a shoestring budget. Despite their wide variations, midsize enterprises tend to face similar issues. In an article for Smarter with Gartner, Tim Stafford shares three steps midsize-enterprise CIOs can take to improve their decision-making:

  1. Build on the synergy that comes from two-party communication.
  2. Keep IT spending in tune with business economics.
  3. Be clear about what constitutes “good enough.”

Midsize Enterprise Can Capitalize

Stafford estimates that communication in midsize enterprises comes mostly from two-party, or dyadic, communication. In this case, the two parties are company leaders and smaller groups. Stafford believes that CIOs should emphasize the decision-making power inherent in such conversations and not rely overly on IT governance that has gotten too stuffy for its own good. These are the three forms of dyadic communication:

Conversation: This is the basis of most “run the business” decision making. Flat organizational structures and direct access to decision makers means conversations occur at any time with no definite agenda. Feedback is immediate, and anyone has the right to respond, interrupt or refuse. The success of these conversations is based on a mutual interest of keeping the business running.

Dialogue: This is the primary way to solve problems, manage teams and run project activities. Dialogue is more orderly than conversation, with a definite agenda topic to discuss.

Interview: This is the primary means by which projects are initiated and requests flow into the IT organization.

The midsize IT budget tends to not be very flexible when it comes to what it can invest in. So in order to best handle this reality, CIOs need to be able to frame investments in business terms. Describe the proposed change in a way that focuses less on the technology and software involved and instead on how it may cut costs in different areas. This eye for business-savvy choices also applies to determining what is “good enough” for your company.  Don’t throw away money on updating and changing things that won’t create significant improvements. The one exception is when upgrades are necessary to avoid risks of incompatibility; good-enough software that doesn’t work right isn’t good enough anymore.

You can view the original article here:

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