Powerful C-suite conversations

Powerful C-suite conversations

PwC survey finds organisations where CIOs work closely with C-suite members are four times likely to be more successful than those with 'less collaborative teams'.

Organisations where CIOs work closely with the C-suite members are four times likely to be more successful than those with “less collaborative teams”, according to a new PwC report. The 5th PwC's Digital IQ Survey underscores how business performance “is strongly linked to whether technology is seen as a last thought or something that is part and parcel of formulating business strategy”, says Paul Brabin, technology sector specialist at PwC New Zealand.

He says “more open and frank discussions” among C-suite members, as well as “embedding” the technology strategy into the business strategy, are key.

“There are a lot of examples where scope of IT investment is limited or has been passed on to the technical components of IT,” says Brabin. “Now, businesses truly understand to deliver transformational change, you need to look at all the aspects of those investments.”

He cites the importance of focusing on business integration, because that is typically where an organisation has the least understanding of what is required and will need more specialist help.

“If you look at the more traditional IT programmes, you have a systems integration role which is around the technical IT design and scope. The business integration component covers programme management, change management, process benefits realisation and concepts around operating model and design.”

More than 1100 business and IT leaders worldwide responded to the survey conducted in late 2012. PwC defines ‘digital IQ’ as a measure of how well organisations understand the value of technology and weave it into the fabric of the organisation.

"The days are gone when those at the top of the corporate ladder could lead a company with limited understanding of technology and its role in transforming business processes and performance,” says Brabin. “Today, New Zealand's best performing companies are led by business leaders who see business integration of technology as a key priority and critical to achieving a sustainable competitive advantage.”

He says in these collaborative organisations, management of risks and outcomes around key projects is much greater and projects are typically much more successful.

This is because “an organisation has a greater appreciation of what is required to deliver transformation through technology”, he says. “It is not just about delivering an IT project on time and on budget.”

The report says companies can begin to raise their ‘digital IQ’ by answering the following questions:

  • How often do C-suite executives discuss how IT is supporting the overall business? Are ‘digital conversations’ taking place regularly?

  • Is the CEO actively involved in developing the company’s digital IQ, and a ‘champion of IT’?

  • Beyond setting the corporate strategy, does the firm have an effective plan that lays out the steps to achieve this and blending it with operations and technology? How is it communicated across the enterprise?

  • Are IT investments made with overarching business goals in mind, or in a silo?

  • Are there pilot programs to “to develop a deeper understanding of the art of the possible” and how new and emerging technologies can benefit the business?

Divina Paredes (@divinap) is editor of CIO New Zealand.

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