Guest Author: Robert “Bob” Svec, SVP and General Manager at Upland Software for the ComSci and PowerSteering product lines
The Wall Street Journal published the Top 5 CIO Strategic Priorities last month. What struck me most, based on my conversations with the CIOs we work with, was the theme of “delivering change through effective communication with the rest of the business.”
A majority of my career has been in finance and technology, of which two decades were as vice president and chief finance officer in the IT division of a large global bank. I directed the technology financial functions including budget performance, product costing and pricing, service catalog and service level agreements, chargebacks, capital planning and vendor relations. At the time, the overall management of IT financials was complicated and unnecessarily difficult, and more importantly, it was virtually impossible to communicate the value that IT provided to the line of business. This challenge sparked the idea for ComSci; and why these two WSJ’s top 5 CIO strategic priorities in particular struck a chord with me:
“Be the change agent. CIOs can no longer afford to sit around simply absorbing the change that filters through their organizations. Instead, CIOs themselves should work to drive change at all levels of the business. How to do it? Understand the steps needed to create change in the first place; factor corporate culture into your plans; pace yourself; and fight to deliver tangible business outcomes.”
“Have a business-centric vision. As CIOs look to create change within their organizations, strategic vision and execution will be essential. CIOs highlighted the importance of speaking the language of business, tailoring the message to stakeholders and using terms they’re comfortable with. Once CIOs have communicated and executed on their visions, it’s crucial to measure success. After that, rinse and repeat.”
Empowering IT leaders to be a change agent instead of being an IT “order taker” is exactly why ComSci was established 10 years ago. You can only change what you can see. Without a clear line of sight into technology spend, IT leaders cannot be a change agent. Without data, CIOs can only offer an opinion in an already overcrowded group of C-level executives’ opinions. Conversely, a lack of insight into the cost of IT services and the effects of business consumption on IT’s budget forces CIOs to react to requests in a tactical and spontaneous manner. Taking a more strategic approach is crucial to drive value and to be a change agent. ComSci’s ITFM capabilities are what CIOs need to make effective, fact-based decisions. CIOs can have more actionable data to ensure their costs are aligned with their organization’s profitability objectives. CIOs need to shift their focus from the tactical question: “Why is your technology so expensive?” to the more strategic version: “What technology do we need over the next 12 to 24 months to maintain our competitive edge?” Enabling our customers to shift to this more strategic mindset is the most satisfying part of my job.
Having a business-centric vision is what CIOs need to move beyond the perceived reputation of simply being “order takers.” Driving business alignment and IT transparency go hand-in-hand with delivering on this business-centric vision. With ComSci, business and IT have come together to be more collaborative in the planning and budgeting process and to drive greater efficiency and ensure positive ROI. As WSJ states, one can now speak in terms their business stakeholders use and be comfortable with doing so. IT is often seen as running IT like a cost center, not a strategic business unit. CIOs need to define their vision, set their goals then plan, execute, measure and communicate the results of said goals. ComSci fosters an environment where the business unit managers become partners with IT, ensuring IT services are more effectively and efficiently consumed. ComSci assists IT organizations in attaining cost control and transparency and delivers an in-depth understanding of the costs involved in delivering services to business units.
ComSci’s purpose since its inception aligns with the top priorities of today’s leading CIOs. In short, we get what CIOs want. Our leadership team is built of former IT professionals passionate about changing the reputation and results of IT. We’re here to make your job easier as we understand the challenge you have in front of you – we’ve experienced the challenges you’re currently facing. Our passion will always be your success. With us, you’ll get the transparency you need to not only establish a business-centric vision, but also to be a change agent and respected partner among your executive peers.
Give us a call anytime to learn more about how we can help. We’ll walk you through how we’re empowering CIOs at leading organizations around the world to tackle these strategic priorities head on.
Image courtesy of midmarket.org.