IT leaders need to be versed in both business and technology. The expectation is to be technical and be ready to drill down at a moment’s notice yet remain strategic enough to work with your business peers. How you communicate with your peers is critical to your perception as an IT leader – Become a part of the strategic planning process.
You must start a dialogue with your business partners to be viewed positively. This means asking questions, finding the pain points or most pressing priorities. Then it’s about maintaining that dialogue, through development of a cohesive plan which they understand brings value creation and efficiencies. Knowing bits and bytes is essential yet having exposure to business operations is critical to knowing their needs and responding timely. It’s time to step outside the comfort zone and mingle. Show them new and innovative ways to solve challenges.
What Is The Value of IT?
You need to be able to communicate to your boss and C-level peers what value IT delivers.
The best way of doing so is through ROI studies. It is best practice to begin an ROI study at least one year after new systems have been implemented. You will start to identify the true savings and costs. Insure that you are working within the user departments(s), where the real savings are realized. Start to track these costs in relation to the projects and initiatives involved. It is a great way to measure the deliverables promised vs. those delivered. Ultimately, this information will provide the true measure of projects and demonstrate how effectively IT helps the business to achieve its financial and business objectives.
It’s all about moving IT from a cost center into that of a value center. Your job as leader is to make IT dramatically improve business performance and business outcomes. Your job as leader is to demonstrate that IT is executing; the right service, at the right time, at the right price. Your job as leader is to show your business colleagues the connection between IT investment and improved business performance. Your job as leader is to provide value beyond IT to your business peers.
I have always believed in having strong governance committees with strategies to match. These strategies revolve around examining our infrastructure, comparisons against expected ROI, and determining which projects are mission critical.
It is the difference maker for aligning our activities with those of the business. The mission of the governance committee is to create and value relationships between IT and the business. It ensures IT understands and is meeting the needs of my peers. I’ve found taking this approach makes it easier for me to communicate the value of IT to the business.