We have all heard of a lot of business professionals talking about “aligning IT with their business”. Have you ever wondered about the relevance or meaning of that statement?
While alignment means to bring something in line with something, it implies that the technology that a business adopts should be in line with its business, thus putting the business in the frontline.
Now, not that such “alignment” is not important, but in the current business scenario, it just won’t be enough. When business takes the lead, it is supported by IT, but the strategies are still in the hands of the business. It basically sets the pace. This takes away the effectiveness of IT to a large extent.
“IT can do way more than just being in line with business”
Over the years, IT has proved how it can improve the efficiencies of people and organizations, which literally leads to growth. Thus, the real need at the moment is for IT to lead the way, take control of business goals and initiate growth efforts.
The role of the CIO in empowering IT
Most businesses adopt technology for their business, with the intention of automating work and increasing efficiencies. Why? Because of the idea that there is a better, faster and more efficient way of doing work and that IT can enable it.
But halfway through adoption, many organizations today lose this sync and the effectiveness of IT gets affected. It somehow fails to deliver the expected efficiency increase.
It is up to the CIOs to clearly define the connection between IT and business growth, and lead his team, with a progressive attitude.
Benny Kirsh, while he was CIO at Kyphon, led the IT team, that literally drove the deployment of a quality assurance system for the compliance of FDA regulations. This leadership initiative of his, helped in reducing the time-to-close complaints by 35% and also increased the on-time training of users by 42%. It basically included an automated documentation system along with version control, providing a compliant working environment, thus helping in reducing discrepancies during FDA audits. Overall, the whole system helped in increasing the sales as well, while at the same time eliminating expensive FDA issues too.
Thus, Benny Kirsh was able to lead his IT team towards being proactive and resolving issues, while also encouraging them to come up with new ideas on ways to generate more revenue.
Likewise, CIOs need to work in close coordination with their IT teams, guiding and leading them towards new innovations and implementations to spur business growth rate. They need to create awareness among team members, about the importance of IT and how it can impact business.
An innovation culture
The CIOs who lead the IT team of an organization need to be true leaders so as to facilitate IT to drive the growth of the business. As mentioned before, it is up to them to inculcate habits of being proactive and creative as well, among their team.
Now true leaders are not the ones that simply sit down and pass orders. They get into the heart of things, take risks and put themselves in with the rest of the crowd. Once, a particular effort towards innovation becomes even a tad bit successful, newer ideas and concepts can be easily initiated and taken forward. But in order to get there, it requires more than just a system of assignment and accomplishment of duties.
IT must be made to be a part of business. CIOs need to bring about a culture of innovation by allowing, and as a matter of fact, encouraging their teams to play with new technologies and induce creativity. Discussions and whiteboarding sessions may also be used to make people think out of the box. It is important to create a work environment that encourages the generation of new business ideas.
IT has to be given the space to read, learn and come up with new ideas. Otherwise, they will only stick to completing their tasks, thus limiting the scope. It is all about the culture and CIOs need to take care of it.
IT is more than just a “cost-center”
IT in a business enterprise is often considered for certain specific goals alone. This is what limits their effectiveness as mentioned before. They are more than just a cost center. They have the potential to drive the business as a whole. When made a part of the organization culture, IT tends to bring more efficiency. Even in-house tools can do the trick.
For example, a simple comprehensive data analytics tool such as a dashboard can improve performances and efficiency drastically. They can help save a lot of time and money and impact a great deal in decision making as well. Have a look at Corporate Dashboards: Means to Save Time, Money and Reputation to know more.
Such tools along with the right culture for innovation can work out in the best way for your business. Rewards and appraisals in between for the best innovations can also go a long way.
Be open to every new innovation and let IT take your business forward.
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