CIO Perspectives on Business Change

I attended a CIO Perspectives conference in Philadelphia this morning. It was a great session with a lot of relevant content. Definitely worth the investment in time. The keynote speaker was a CIO who is leading a business transformation for a pharmaceutical distribution company using an ERP implementation as the technology driver. His discussion focused on three key elements critical for transformation, and I want to share that I emphatically agree. While there are certainly other factors in a business transformation, these three are most applicable to the CIO:

1) IT Strategy - providing multiple views of the architecture, platforms, tools, and technologies that are needed to support the business strategy. 2) IT Governance - prioritizing projects, making decisions and living with the consequences of the decisions. 3) Relationships - trust, candor, and discussing the "undiscussables".

He emphasized relationships as a fundamental component of a transformation because it enables the the first two elements to be effective.

Here is my summary of other key concepts for your consideration in your own change efforts:

  • If you struggle to get a busines strategy to feed the IT strategy, create one yourself. IT has a great perspective of your company.
  • Commit to the integrity of the IT governance process. Don't make side deals.
  • In order to have any transparency, you need to be able to define what everyone does on a daily basis. Put a time reporting system in. Without it, you are stuck in emotions and hallway sound bytes.
  • Trust is critical. Do you have it? Do you want it? Do you want it like you have never wanted anything else? You need to.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Decide to make relationships important. Start with your most troubled relationship, turn it around, and then move on to others. Change fails because of relationships.
  • I would rather have an average strategy with flawless execution, than a flawless strategy with average execution. You can and will always modify your strategy in our current environments.