Posted by: Renodis
There have been numerous articles written on CIOs and IT Leaders and how they should be of value to the business. You hear the saying ‘IT executives should partner with the business’ a lot. Okay, that’s great, but exactly how do you make it happen?
Joe Topinka, CIO of Red Wing Shoes, said at the recent Mid-Market CIO Executive Summit “IT resources must be a partner of the business and an active part of the future strategy rather than simply an enabler of technology.” This is the exact truth. Be relevant, provide impact.
What is Not Relevant?
First let’s look at what is ‘not relevant’. If you want to be non-relevant, then I suggest you not meet on a regular business with your executive team, not be visible to the company, do not help solve problems, and do not meet with key stakeholders and management to discuss their needs. You could just be an order taker and deliver ‘as promised’, or you could work with your executives and be a partner to leverage technology to help drive business results.
It’s easy for IT leaders (CIOs, VPs, Directors, Managers- regardless of title) to be so buried in the weeds with day to day responsibilities that they can forget how to remain relevant to the business. One IT leader (names will not be used to protect the innocent) had the title of VP of IT but was taking helpdesk support calls from internal end users to support the business. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s great this person helped where needed, and I realize IT leaders wear many hats, but taking helpdesk calls is not being relevant to the business. This is about being buried in the weeds, resulting in becoming behind on key IT projects and initiatives, and eventually non-relevant.
6 Ways IT Leaders Can Be Relevant to the Business
So, how do you become relevant and impactful to your business? Here are 6 Ways IT Leaders Can Be Relevant to the Business, regardless if you are a CIO, VP, or other leader of IT:
- Sit at the executive table – “Out of sight, out of mind” is an old saying, but if you are not working closely with the executive team, you will be out of mind.
- Partner with leaders of the business - Work and meet with business leaders on a regular basis (monthly, weekly, quarterly, whatever works for them) and build relationships to understand their needs and challenges.
- Act like a problem solver and a solution provider, not an order taker – Don’t enable technology and implement tools for the sake of it. Ask questions, pose risks and ways to mitigate them, offer alternative solutions, and alternative opinions.
- Outsource where necessary, delegate when necessary – You can’t do everything and be everything on your own in IT, there are certain components that should be handled by a 3rd party (i.e. staffing using contractors, use a partner to manage telecom, SaaS, infrastructure, application management, etc.)
- Run IT like a business – Measure, deliver, and report results. Everything you do in IT should be measured, evaluated, and measured again using industry benchmarks. If you use a 3rd party vendor, they should be able to help you measure and report results using their services.
- Hire the right talent and hold them accountable – Whether you use a 3rd party provider for staffing or hire full time, every person needs to be held accountable for meeting expectations within timelines.
Now that you know just a few ways to be relevant, always remember the best leaders are the ones heavily engaged at all levels of the organization, working hand in hand to solve problems and provide solutions to the overall strategy of the business. Being relevant provides high impact results for your organization, and ultimately career satisfaction and longevity for you.
Are there ways you are providing impact to your business? How are you staying relevant? Let us know your feedback and comment below!
Ryan Carter is an experienced industry expert in Telecom Management and Enterprise Account Manager at Renodis.