Engaging in More Than IT Strategy

Some recent studies have examined what sets apart the best performing IT organizations and what differentiates a great CIO and team from the rest of the pack. Aside from looking at the typical resumes and stories of incredible execution and business delivery, the best performing organizations are using a variety of skills and approaches to carve out new and innovative ways to deliver results.
The best IT organization can quickly fail without the leadership and guidance of a strong team focused on driving new approaches and techniques. A tough message to the IT organization is that unless
they are open to using a variety of new skills and techniques, (in addition to the classic IT disciplines), they will not be able to meet the demands of their business partners.
Good teams have the ability to recognize the value of new approaches and leverage them for improved results. More often than not, the really great IT teams use more than just a single approach to deliver the IT strategy. One way to look at solving this issue is to examine how the team is spending their time.
  • Aside from creating and delivering IT solutions, what else is being done to become a top performing group? 
  • Does the team have a view of how each day is spent?
  • Are you spending time to creat the linkage with your business and IT partners to drive innovation and creativity?
  • Has the team thought about what could happen if you focused on standardization in order to enable creativity?
Simplifying and standardizing the core components of IT delivery will enable reuse and repeatability to increase delivery capability across the organization. Centralizing an IT infrastructure or driving a common ERP solution may seem like a Herculean task for your organization, but think about how this common solution would change how you could engage with your customer about future enhancements, after initial deployment? How quickly will you be able to deliver new capability as a result of this standardization?
Another area to consider is how easy it ist for your staff and customers to work with you. For example, do you only connect via monthly PMO meeting or project reviews? What if you did not send them the standard report, charts and graphs and simplified the communication? How about providing your customer with the three to five key metrics you think they should be looking at and eliminate the rest?
In some cases, the business partner may not be ready for more collaboration and may not want you to do more than execution (order-takers). Several prerequisites must exist for increasing IT/business collaboration. It might be wise to spend some time figuring out who is right person in the organization that understands the power of combining delivery and strategic change.
You may be struggling with an organization that does not understand what the objectives are and what to do when faced with a change in business direction. A simple way to start the discussion may be to create a joint effort to define a couple of Improvement efforts that together you could collaborate on, prioritize, and deliver quickly.
Any of these techniques could be helpful to grow the partnership between IT and business. Your customer expects you to do more than just execute. You must demonstrate that you provide value added services continuously. This means engaging frequently, more than just around the IT strategy.