Having an IT organization that is aligned to the larger business organization is something that CIOs think about constantly. In fact, according to this article by Alicia Stein, it was one of the major topics at a recent Midsize Enterprise Summit West conference. Highlighting the insights provided by Peter High (president of Metis Strategy) and Chris Laping (vice president of business transformation and CIO of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers) , this article explains some of the reasons the CIO needs to be more than a manager of all IT: they need to be transformative business leaders capable of aligning to the business. High in particular shared some of the principles he uses to better align with business:
The first principle is to build a strong IT core and increase the business value of IT by recruiting, training and retaining world-class IT employees; building and maintaining a robust IT infrastructure; fielding an executive project development and portfolio management process; ensuring that IT partners within the various departments and with the business; and developing collaborative relationships with external partners. The second principle is to find a partner in another part of the organization and cross-pollinate. The third is to develop a RND (research and development) mentality to bring ideas to the rest of the organization. The fourth principle is to build skills in your team so that IT speaks the language of the business, and the fifth and last principle is to remember that there is only one customer.
Laping explained that he plans everyday around two jobs, ” I do the things I do, and the things I don’t expect.”
The article goes on to explain that IT needs to think of itself as the business ““ not as something outside of the business. This isn’t such a leap: most of business is now being conducted online, and that gives IT equal footing in the business. The CIO has to also think of IT as a transformational agent, however. As Laping states, if the door doesn’t exist, build one.