2 items tagged "IT leaders"

  • Key demands for modern Chief Information Officers

    Key demands for modern Chief Information Officers

    As companies digitalize, they expect more than ever from their chief information officers.

    The movement of companies into a digital economy has redefined the role of the CIO.

    “The CIO’s role has always had multiple components, but in forward-thinking firms, it’s increasingly oriented toward leading business transformation through technology,” according to March, 2021 research conducted by Genpact, the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, and Wakefield Research.

    Key areas where companies expect CIOs and IT to step up so IT can be transformed into a revenue-generating function are the following:

    1. Collaboration with sales and line-of-business units

    To expedite time to market and sales, companies are now forming revenue operations teams (RevOps). 

    “Investing in RevOps is an investment in transparency and accountability. It offers the ability to operationalize growth at scale, with rigor that offers repeatable processes replicated throughout the organization to drive predictable revenue and growth,” said Rosalyn Santa Elena, Head of Revenue Operations at Clari, in a recent blog. The standard RevOps team includes sales and sales enablement -- but also data analytics, insights, systems, and technology operations.

    In other words, it might be corporate sales that is driving the RevOps team, but

    IT with its analytics, systems, and technology is also a critical cog in the machine, and CIOs who are being asked to focus on revenue need to be integrally involved in RevOps.

    2. E-commerce and the customer experience

    The customer experience, and an increasing number of digital customer touch points within companies, is what's driving the IT engagement in RevOps.

    Companies need to maintain a healthy presence in social media while they also use analytics to understand the trends that are ongoing in social media and how these trends and company feedback reflect on their organizations. Websites must perform without interruption or errors and be easy to navigate. Online processes must be streamlined and easy to execute -- from initial product search and order fulfillment to a product return or exchange.

    In recent PwC research, customers said they were more willing to try and buy brands from companies that offered a superior customer experience. The PwC report posed this question: “What truly makes for a good experience? Speed. Convenience. Consistency. Friendliness. And human touch -- that is, creating real connections by making technology feel more human and giving employees what they need to create better customer experiences.”

    To effect seamless business processes for customers online and even in-store, IT needs to be engaged, and CIOs need to take a leading role.

    Part of this role is enabling new technologies and streamlining business processes, but it’s equally important to benchmark customer satisfaction for these new technologies and processes against the older methods that were used -- and to monetize the results in hard numbers for customer loyalty and retention, and revenue results.

    3. New product development

    In the past three years, I've met several CIOs who left their corporate IT jobs to head up spinoff companies in the technology space for their parent companies. The CIOs I spoke with were working in the financial services sector. They were leading new ventures in online banking, card services and analytics and risk assessment. Their common goal was to take new products that IT, in collaboration with the end business, had developed for their customer bases, and to expand these bases. In the process of doing this, the CIOs became spinoff CEOs with their own new lines of revenue-generating business.

    This is a departure from past practice, where IT and CIOs were relegated to back-office functions. As more business and products become digital, we are likely to see more CIOs take the helm of new corporate spinoff companies with profit and loss responsibilities.

    4. Outsourcing services

    In recent years, a number of organizations have also begun to monetize their own internal IT by extending their services and products to customer-companies outside of their own enterprises.

    An example is a large bank that has a complete portfolio of systems for processing online banking transactions, credit and debit cards, loans, security, risk assessment and analytics.

    Smaller community banks might not be able to afford all these bells and whistles, so what happens is these smaller organizations agree to pay fees for service to the larger bank. In turn, the larger bank’s IT department supports the systems that the community banks have contracted for, and that they couldn’t afford on their own.

    This business arrangement can be a win-win for everyone. The community banks obtain the systems and services that they otherwise couldn't afford, and the large bank receives revenue dollars from its community bank customers that offset or exceed IT expenses.

    In this model, it’s possible to create an IT corporate spinoff that manages the community bank business, but also possible to operate this business from within the internal IT operation. In either scenario, the CIO has profit and loss responsibility for the business, and IT must be able to support the needs of outside customers, as well as its own internal needs.

    In Summary

    The future of business is digital, although many corporate executives fear (and have experienced) digital failures. It is CIOs who are now being asked to lead their companies out of this digital wilderness.

    This isn’t a small undertaking. It will require CIOs getting their heads around P&L sheets as well as budgets. Nevertheless, this is the role that more companies expect their CIOs to assume.

    Author: Mary E. Shacklett

    Source: InformationWeek

  • Mulitalented IT performers: the paradox of versatility and role clarity

    Mulitalented IT performers: the paradox of versatility and role clarity

    Versatility is an admirable trait in any IT team member. But what happens when a manager allows staffers to stretch their talents too far?

    Many IT leaders admire a versatile employee. After all, someone who can fill multiple roles, especially in an era when skilled talent is in short supply, can be a highly valuable asset.

    A problem arises, however, when a multi-skilled staffer is in such high demand across the organization that it conflicts with their primary job duties. “It's common in modern IT shops to find top performers holding multiple roles in the organization,” says Matt Mead, CTO at SPR Consulting, which bills itself as a technology modernization firm. “However, it's critical that these top performers have the time, passion and ability to perform the multiple roles,” he adds.

    IT leaders “should absolutely” consider asking their top performers to wear multiple hats to serve their organization to the fullest, states Ryan Rackley, a partner with global technology research and advisory company ISG.

    On the other hand, it's possible to take the concept too far, since holding multiple formal job titles poses challenges to both the organization and its employees since it may create confusion over who's responsible for what task, observes Dana Daher, senior research analyst in the CIO practice at Info-Tech Research Group. “However, allowing top IT performers to have multiple competencies, capabilities, or roles within a job can be a key ingredient to success within an organization,” she says.

    Multiple Advantages

    Depending on the organization, it's entirely possible that certain IT roles can be performed on a part-time basis, Mead says. “Assigning multiple roles to IT top performers is a technique that can be used temporarily, such as to fill a critical role due to attrition or used permanently for roles that can be done on a part-time basis.”

    Besides the obvious benefit of broadening and deepening its talent pool, an organization that allows proficient team members play multiple roles stands to gain increased efficiency and productivity. “As they operate, that individual begins to make connections that would have otherwise required intense levels of collaboration between teammates,” Rackley says. “Not only does this benefit the organization directly, but it gives the thirsty top performer the opportunity to simultaneously experience various elements of the operation.”

    Disadvantages, Too

    A potential disadvantage of assigning multiple roles to top performers is failing to give the individual sufficient time to accomplish all the assigned tasks. This oversight can have a ripple negative effect on others in the organization and create a less than ideal work environment, Mead notes. “Additionally, from an organization-culture perspective, the perception of roles being hoarded at the top level may also give the sense that upward mobility is being restricted to a favored few.”

    Rackley believes that leaders should be “ruthlessly pragmatic” when considering a consolidation of responsibilities. “There's no magic wand that makes one person capable of performing where there were previously four people,” she says.

    When consolidating responsibilities to individual staff members, there should first be an open dialogue with the entire team to explain that a certain amount of future work will now be delegated to specific individuals, and that objective performance measures will be applied to the designated employees. “Sorting the work in this way results in clearly defined outcomes that are acceptable to the employee and the organization, which will help ensure expectations are met and the employee does not become overloaded,” Rackley says.

    IT leaders must be cautious when assigning multiple roles to employees since the decision will require the selected individuals to multitask. This can be a good thing, but only if handled judiciously and compassionately. If improperly handled, multitasking can lead to burnout and a decrease the work quality, Daher cautioned. “It's important to prioritize roles, clarify accountabilities, and ensure the directions of the roles are clear,” she says. Additionally, without strong governance in place, multitasking individuals may make unauthorized and possibly damaging decisions, mistakenly believing they're accountable for things that they are not.

    Last Word

    An IT leader may be tempted to allow a top performer to hold multiple jobs within the organization, but it should never be a long-term solution, due to negative impact on role clarity and overall employee engagement, warned Julie Rysenga, principal of IT consulting firm 3LS Consulting.

    Rysenga believes that the pitfalls of allowing a top team performer to hold multiple posts far outweigh any benefits. Role clarity, she explained, has been shown to be an important ingredient in overall employee engagement. “Role clarity, achieved through the job description, provides the guardrails around which employee performance can be reviewed and managed,” Rysenga says. “Allowing someone to hold multiple jobs decreases overall role clarity both for the individual and for the other individuals on the team.”

    Author: John Edwards

    Source: InfromationWeek

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