CIOs: don’t get trapped in the Matrix

It’s imperative for technology leaders to stay one step ahead of any potential trouble. A great way to ensure you’re receiving up to date, strategic advice is to enlist a trusted consultant to assist in developing plans and procedures that will mitigate or eliminate risks.

CIOs juggle day-to-day responsibilities and developing strategy while staying alert for IT weaknesses that threaten to negatively affect their company. Nothing spells a CIO’s demise like being unprepared to mitigate unexpected tech failures.  Corporate tech stumbles, be it a security breach, application outage, or a failed disaster recovery, can easily end up as an article in The Wall Street Journal.

It’s imperative for technology leaders to stay one step ahead of any potential trouble. A great way to ensure you’re receiving up to date, strategic advice is to enlist a trusted consultant to assist in developing plans and procedures that will mitigate or eliminate risks.

A large gap exists between identifying the need for a professional consultant and receiving the funds to hire assistance due to multiple factors.  You might run into negative responses for a number of reasons:

  • Budget problems: no funds are budgeted for security proofing.
  • Business-oriented decision-makers fail to thoroughly analyze the risks involved when operating under lax security protocols.
  • Decision-makers are unwilling to invest in security measures.
  • Political tension and competition exists between departments—every vertical has funding needs and struggles to maintain budgeting priority.

Avoiding the urge to concede to other business priorities or downplay the importance of IT investments is a challenging task that every IT leader must undertake.

Quality data will guide strategic decision making and make your case for an increased budget. Evaluate the results of previous priorities in relation to the spending plan and use this information to defend and build on your organization’s IT strategic priorities.

Oh No! I’m the new IT leader—but I don’t have the background.

Imagine this: you’re a budding manager who’s driven, knowledgable,  and suddenly given a big promotion… in a new department.

This happens to high-performing tech leaders who demonstrate the capacity to manage more within their organizations. Assuming responsibility for the IT department is a difficult situation. It’s even more challenging if you don’t have an IT background.

Thankfully, you don’t have to struggle alone. Get help by working with the current IT talent in your organization. Better yet, look outside the company and engage a consultant to augment your efforts and act as a guide for strategic decision making.

Sometimes there are additional obstacles to overcome —specifically when the business cuts costs through “restructuring”.  This common managerial practice removes the current IT executive and reassigns IT function responsibility to a more junior employee.

Why does this happen? Executive leadership often assumes the IT department doesn’t understand business objectives and so is misaligned with the business strategy. How can you succeed in this new environment? Shake the “clueless IT” stereotype and seize this opportunity to demonstrate how IT adds to business innovation.

Engage your new team in developing efficient, effective IT and Enterprise Architecture roadmaps. Your employees are invaluable assets and will demonstrate their expertise by participating in developing new business strategies that align with corporate objectives.

You’ve shifted your perception and recognize the value of your IT team. You’ve empowered your employees throughout the organization. Great work. The final step to solidify your position and establish trust is executing these practical actions that will ensure your success and maintain both your job stability and security.

1. Create a plan to support your organization’s 10 major IT functions internally.

2. Learn intelligent ways to cut costs without disruption.

3. Stay humble: Ask for help or clarification to understand an issue. Pretending to know more than you do leads to poor decision making.

4. Do the work that ensures you’re in touch with the inner workings of your department. It’s tempting to defer to the large systems integrator and let them bear the brunt of the workload, but doing so leaves you vulnerable and ignorant of any potential issues.

With this advice and on the job training, Implement these handy tips —and invest in on the job training— and you’ll be navigating your organization like a pro in no time! If you need additional help – reach out. Advancement Strategy offers consulting and advisory services for CIOs and other executive-level decision-makers, especially involving Mergers and Acquisitions.