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Successful strategies for a complex world

Successful strategies for a complex world

Today’s CIOs need an arsenal of tools and strategies to overcome a range of business challenges amidst an uncertain environment. The 2008 CIO Conference tackled some of them.

“We find ourselves… right at the maelstrom at the impact of IT and technology to everything in the world and that creates challenges [and a] tremendous amount of opportunities. “With those opportunities come the necessity to look at our core competence, comfort zones and examine what needs to be changed in order to move to higher and bigger advances.” With these words, Andre Mendes, global CIO of Special Olympics and a keynote speaker at the 2008 CIO Conference, summarises the challenges facing today’s ICT leaders in increasingly globalised, if uncertain, times.

If it is a consolation, however, CIOs have one distinct advantage. “Few, if any, C-level [executives] have the CIO’s helicopter view of the entire business. Why? Because you are changing everything. When you talk about supply chain you have to know about every single aspect of your organisation, you probably know it better end to end than the COO.”

The “law of accelerating returns” means being a CIO today will not be a cushy job either. “In the next century, we are expecting the equivalent of 20 centuries of change,” he says. “You have to be prepared for it.”

The speakers in the two-day conference impart ways to meet this challenge head on. Here are synopses of their presentations.

From startup to major player

Making waves in a well-entrenched banking market was part of the challenge for Kiwibank, says IT and business delivery general manager Ron van de Riet.

“We lead in direct channel functionality and were the first with text and mobile banking, he says. “I saw it [Kiwibank] as a great opportunity, as there are not many startups in banking around the world.”

Kiwibank built a complete CRM front-end, which was developed entirely in-house. “The bank tends to operate 10 to 15 significant technology projects at any one time. It has 70 people in the IT space, as we operate in a changing environment.”

He says the biggest challenge has been managing a fast-growth, fast-change environment. “IT business is about people. A lot of people ask me about NZ Post IT and if we did a shared model. The only shared model we did was to do with the retail and telephony platform.”

He believes shared models tend to be operationally focused and don’t cater for complex organisations that are growing and changing. “From day one we didn’t want to share anything, the culture was different and everything was different. In 2002 we only had 15 people in IT to get the business going. “We spent six months defining what we needed to do. The diversity of digital experience in our society is very wide and getting wider. We also need to understand the forces that are influencing the banking world such as globalisation.”

Kiwibank outsources services such as credit cards to a product provider. “It’s kind of a rebranding model and arbitrating the value chain. We don’t own the value chain, we only own one part of it.”

According to van de Riet, innovation was what made Kiwibank successful. “If you don’t have innovation constantly happening in your company, you’ll never be that successful.”

Delivering world-class business architecture was part of the goal. “Why are we so agile and quick now? We bought a legacy model back in 2003 and decided to build a disruptive model. What we decided to do was own everything from the customer to the developer, with everything from the CRM to the customer development done in-house. If we hadn’t done that we would never get the value proposition today due to the cost.”

Culture and a strong brand are also important for Kiwibank says van de Riet. “The one company that has made a real commitment to its brand and culture is Air New Zealand as we have. Our culture is around sustainable created self leaders, internalised intellectual property, peer culture around structure and collaboration.” Hamish Barwick

The truest way to empowerment

The New Zealand government CIO, Laurence Millar of the States Services Commission, is a convert to the principle of open access to public data. “Data in the hands of a few makes for order; but data in the hands of many makes for endless possibilities,” says Millar.

Data is something the government has plenty of, Millar says, but it often isn’t used efficiently. By following the maxim “capture once, use often” Millar believes government services could be delivered much more effectively. As it is, citizens seeking access to public services have to enter the same information multiple times even though that data is already available within government agencies. Reducing duplication is key to providing greater value for government customers — its citizens.

Part of the problem is that there hasn’t been a proper user-centric approach to service provision that provides unique identity verification and trust. This is something Millar and the SSC are presently implementing with the igovt project that provides unique identities for citizens. When citizens contact government agencies to access services, igovt is used to verify that people applying for specific items are indeed who they say they are.

With the identity established and verified, people can instruct one part of the government storing useful information about them to pass it onto another part. This greatly reduces effort for small businesses for instances, says Millar, and makes citizens’ dealings with government agencies easier and faster.

The internet and new media/Web 2.0 are bringing about some massive changes for government, Millar points out. We’re moving from centralisation to decentralisation, from corporate secrecy to corporate openness and sharing and our mindsets are changing from security and privacy to being public and proud of it. Copyright is becoming an obsolete concept in the era of information sharing, creative commons and copy-left, he says.

Already, the NZ government is looking at economic value creation by making its data freely available to everyone. Millar mentions the Google Maps mash-up used for the government’s National Broadband Map as an example. By allowing users and providers to enter demand points and networks that may be able to service these, value is created as customers become aware of suppliers and vice versa.

Voters can also get a better idea what their elected members in Parliament do with public information mash-up sites like theyworkforyou.co.nz that present politicians’ relationships to bills, portfolios, organisations, debates and more. Juha Saarinen

Lion Nathan: Make UC work for you

Lion Nathan CIO Darryl Warren knows unified communications or UC technologies are the subject of a certain amount of hype, but he says businesses just need to get on with it. “The benefits increase as the deployment increases. You have to get rid of your old system; you have to commit and get on with it,” says Warren.

Lion Nathan has done just that. With 3000 staff across several countries, 13 breweries, 10 wineries and a network of retail stores; reliable, accurate and efficient communication systems are obviously business critical. Up to 600 people use Active Sync with mobile devices or Blackberries; a further 120 sales representatives have Tablet PCs and 3G mobile data cards, and around 1000 people are not sitting at a given place at any point of the day, but are traveling or on customer visits.

“The organisation has expectations [of IT]. One is that IT infrastructure will be built for the future and stay ahead of the business. It’s a dynamic business and there’s a desire to enact change rapidly. One example is our acquisition of Boag’s in January — 10 weeks later we had full systems and people integration including phone systems,” says Warren.

He says prior to investing in its current UC system, the challenge was how to get all Lion Nathan national and international communications channels and systems working together, so that mobile voice mail was integrated into the central voice mail system and individual voice mails could be attached as email files and sent out to mobile devices as needed. Lion Nathan also sought an effective, in-house audio conferencing solution, along with ways to free up staff time using smarter communications processes.

“Where do you start? First you have to understand the business case. In the corporate world, people have zero tolerance; they expect dial tone. And Generation Y is used to people just ‘being there’ as a constant presence due to [their use of] MMS, SMS, Facebook, Skype and online networking. I can now sit at my desk and see the presence of anyone else on [the system.] Our telephone tag has reduced enormously,” says Warren.

Lion Nathan invested in Cisco Unified Presence Server 6.0 and Cisco Call Manager Clusters for Australia and New Zealand, delivering a common, five-digit numbering system for offices in both countries. Twenty-eight hundred Cisco IP handsets were deployed along with Cisco Unified Contact Centre Enterprise 7.1, Cisco Meeting Place Express for audio conferencing and Microsoft Exchange Server, Communicator, Office Communications Server and Live Meeting. Several hundred mobile devices run the Windows Mobile operating system or are Apple iPhones, while Blackberrys are being phased out.

“Why have Blackberry services when you have your own push technology?” he says.Warren’s team ran UC training sessions and “did a sell job” internally, but staff response to the new system was positive almost from the beginning. Lion Nathan now has a presence that includes its service desk, with staff using UC to chat with each other whilst also on the phone. He says current estimates suggest staff save 30 minutes per day in time, by being able to communicate casually in this way. Microsoft Communicator also connects outside of the internal network, to show presence for devices held in proxy. In New Zealand, four reception services have been reduced to one and the need for separate E1 and data circuits has been eliminated. Vikki Bland

Manage your data for effective BI

Executives are drowning in data, says Brian Bowman, adviser to Intelligent Business Research Services of Australia, but the information mountain is often not being put to good use.

The annual growth rate of structured and unstructured data is somewhere between 30 and 60 per cent, with the latter making up 80 per cent of the total, and expanding the fastest of the two, at a rate of 65 to 200 per cent. Unstructured data is material stored outside databases, on file systems. It is usually personal data, such as word processor files, spreadsheets and emails, and it’s often squirreled away in users’ own folders, says Bowman.

Managing the rapidly increasing volumes of data from official and “unofficial” repositories like personal ones is key for successful business intelligence (BI) implementations.

According to Bowman, BI takes large quantities of corporate data and analyses this. Through the use of various technologies, applications and practices, this raw corporate data is transformed into information for executives that help them and their business to understand historical patterns. This enabled the business to predict and improve future performance.

Some 20 years ago, BI was known as Executive Information Systems, but it has always been around, says Bowman. Now, however we have the technologies required that can, if well implemented, minimise the risk in a company’s ability to execute strategies.

In fact, an IBM Global CEO study in 2006 saw CEOs identifying insufficient access to information as one of the top six internal obstacles to business model innovation, a key goal for enterprises that has been shown to significantly boost operating margin growths.

Implementing a successful BI project can be difficult, he says. While an Accenture global survey in 2007 found that most respondents considered BI as a major weapon for gaining competitive differentiation, Bowman says most organisations haven’t achieved this.

Wide gaps exist between executive aspirations on information management, and the analytical capabilities present to build successful BI implementations.

These days much corporate data is locked into individually managed spreadsheets and Microsoft Access databases. This information has to be brought out of applications and into data warehouses, or be considered to have little or no credence. If this isn’t done, Bowman says spreadsheets and Access databases will burgeon, and subvert the overall objective of the BI project. Spreadsheets especially are singled out as “audit nightmares” with questionable data integrity and can present multiple versions of the truth an organisation is looking for with BI.

Bowman says the six steps to BI success start with beginning with the end in mind; that is, working out the problem the business wants to solve. You must know what technology is capable of, and deliver projects incrementally by starting small and growing strong. A single version of the truth needed for accurate decision making can be arrived at if BI software is able to draw on common meta data.

One problem identified by Bowman is that users are reluctant to create the necessary meta data, but this can be overcome by democratising the information he says.

Data quality is also paramount, he says. Multiple paths that data follows must be considered he says so as to understand transformations. Users have to be confident that BI outputs are based on the same data regardless of the sources involved. Getting there is a challenge, especially when it comes to managing unstructured data, he says. Juha Saarinen

Trade Me: It takes a community

Building a great website and online community has been critical to the success of Trade Me, says CEO Jon Macdonald.

Trade Me started in 1999 and grew through word of mouth rather than above the line advertising, says Macdonald. “We’ve invested a lot in terms of design and in terms of making something that’s good and people will want to use.”

Part of this success is a result of the philosophies of Trade Me. “We use hard data to measure our performance and to form our decisions. One of the ways we make our site fast is through a whole array of monitoring tools at varying levels of the technology stack.”

He says keeping the websites simple to use has encouraged growth. “This includes the real basics. A link should be blue and underlined, you should be able to click on the top left of the corner of the page and go back to your home page.”

His advice is to throw out information from the website. “One of the things we beat into new starters is a message where you design some content, throw out half the words and than throw out half the words again and you might be getting to the right level of brevity.”

Keeping customers happy through a site that “just works” is part of the challenge. “To build up trust and repeat business, it should just work. We do that through our infrastructure and servers, but also people. We have a 24X7 customer support team who work tirelessly and make sure what happens to the organisation is fundamentally geared around good operations.”

Community is important for Trade Me as well. “The concept of Web 2.0 and people contributing more is a no-brainer.

“It’s also the community that largely polices the content. The best way to articulate Trade Me is people sending money to sellers they’ve never met for goods they’ve never seen. If we fail to provide a venue where people will trust us and trust each other, then the entire business model that we work to falls down.”

Hamish Barwick

Articulate business needs in your service catalogue

Matthew Massoud Nasrabadi heads Vodafone Australia’s Asia Pacific Network and Services department within the Global Steering Group and his organisation was one of the first implement an ITIL 3.0 service catalogue.

What is a Service Catalogue then? Within ITIL 3.0, it is at the centre of the set of best practices, listing what services IT can provide to a business. Nasrabadi says that in particular, it is not for user requests such as ordering new phones, getting passwords reset or downloading office applications. These things are covered by existing ticketing and helpdesk management systems.

Instead, a Service Catalogue is for promises to business. It can be consumed by business receivers in a B2B environment (but not individuals) and comprises typically of multiple service components that can range from technical IT matters such as network, VoIP, datacentre to pure business support items such as application hosting.

Before the service catalogue was implemented at Vodafone, Nasrabadi says hardly anyone within the company had a clear idea of how IT contributed to the organisation’s clear strategy of being a customer-centric business. Nobody could identify what IT actually did that contributed to the business figures each year, in fact.

IT must be very clear-cut and able to articulate with just a few sentences its contribution to the business bottom-line. If it can’t do that it probably hasn’t got it right. To do this successfully, Nasrabadi says, a Service Catalogue is required. Interestingly enough, IT people aren’t often the best people to assemble a Service Catalogue. IT people don’t have MBAs usually, says Nasrabadi and often cannot articulate the needs of a business in the right context.

The one-sentence definition of a service catalogue is that it focuses specifically on documenting and articulating IT services provided to an organisation, says Nasrabadi. The goal is to ensure transparency of IT services to business, by identifying value-adding process and infrastructure couple with the centralisation of key IT management knowledge.

Most of all, a Service Catalogue contributes to a business strategy through prompt and consistent delivery of the services listed. Business and IT negotiate what the services in the catalogue should be, how they should be implemented, with performance monitoring and minimum level agreements, not to mention what business should pay for the services.

A holistic view of the Service Catalogue contributes to the efficiency of IT operations and negates unseen risks that can occur when time is wasted, information is hidden, distorted or not recorded properly. As a major contributor to overall business efficiency, a service catalogue refines recording, storing, explaining, monitoring, evaluating and disseminating IT information to those who need it.

Why change and implement a Service Catalogue, Nasrabadi asks rhetorically. The benefits are legion, he says. Defining IT capability as one of the main business contributors is one reason, but IT can benefit too by seeing its published information increasing in relevance, clarity, accuracy and overall importance, says Nasrabadi.

A productive transformation and adjustment of business process that enable competitiveness through automation of plain information to tangible and transparent processes is another.

An active service catalogue that is published through an organisation with automated front office processes and streamlined back office ones is how it works, Nasrabadi says. It has to be underpinned by organisational structure and contracts with key partners.

Nasrabadi says that with a Service Catalogue now successfully implemented in Vodafone, his next goal is to transform service delivery within the company. Last year, he reduced the change management process number changes per week by 20 per cent; this year, he will reduce the approval process of changes by anything up to 15 per cent in the first three months, and then five per cent ever three months as approvers will know the impact business elements will have to various services offered. People can approve without going in and doing in-depth investigations. This is a clear benefit to the organisation, as it cuts down on approval times by up to half. Juha Saarinen

Getting the best IT staff

Attracting good IT workers is difficult, but there are things you can do to retain talent, says managing director John Peebles of John Peebles Associates.

Peebles says attracting workers is dependent on risk management and management succession. “Management succession planning is about risk management and it’s also about `if this person left tomorrow would we miss him next month or not at all. And if not at all, then why is he here’?

A real difficulty to attracting talent is that people can make more as contractors. “Some figures from the US say by 2010 they expect 50 per cent of all company employees to be contractors. People know the firms need them more than they need the firms.”

Another problem is companies have cut back on job training and development. “We’re focusing on short-term and not long-term. The IT sector will be bad, if not worse. Talent is in short supply and well paid, and we now have a global economy.”

He adds that the demand from Asia for workers is going to be enormous. “Today we’re paying the same in Beijing and Shanghai as we would be paying in the US, and the US is worried they won’t be able to keep their staff in the next five to 10 years. By 2025 the population that’s middle-class affluent in China will be 570 million.”

He adds that local companies also face a problem as wage rates are lower. “We should be realistic about it in a global sense and we have one option: To grow our talent. Good organisations grow their own talent; we say to organisations if you take on four graduates you will lose three and one will save your bacon.”

His advice to CIOs for attracting talent is to fight for resources. “There are five things in recruitment you have to worry about. Does it fit the culture or break the culture? Does it have passion, has it got some functional skills and affect change through people? You’ll be judged on how well you staff and service your corporate masters and clients.” Hamish Barwick

Failure-proof your IT projects

IT project success is quite possible if you don’t forget the basics, such as scope, leadership, management and people, says project management consultant Chris Pope.

The reason most projects fail is not because of some “big hairy problem”. They fail because the basics have been neglected, says Pope, director of the Valde Group and group IT program manager at Air New Zealand.

He lists 10 ways to “failure-proof” IT projects:

  • Confirm the project is aligned with organisational strategy.

“Ask yourself: are the deliverables of the project aligned with the direction of the company?”

  • Establish strong project governance structures, and make sure the business is engaged — and that the right people are on the steering committee.

  • Clearly define the project.

Make sure all stakeholders know their roles, as well as the goals and objectives of the project, says Pope. There is usually a “honeymoon period” at the beginning of a project when everybody is excited and disagreements seem far away, he says. But then, six months down the track, things can get ugly unless roles, goals and expectations of the project were clearly articulated at the start.

  • Identify the appropriate success measures and strategy to maximise business benefits.

The project should be about delivering the benefits, not about the process, says Pope. Also, try to be clear on when the project is over; establish how to define when it is finished, and how to realise and maintain the benefits, he says.

  • Plan it before you do it.

“‘She’ll be right’ is not a project management strategy,” says Pope. He also recommends standing up to pressure from above to “cut the process, just do it!” That attitude, and the risk of making premature decisions, could potentially cost the company millions, he says.

  • Learn to love risk-identification.

Reward people who identify risks early and don’t ignore problems, says Pope. Problems don’t tend to go away just because they are ignored, he says.

  • Get a balanced team with the right skills for the job.

Different personality types are essential. You need someone on the team who has the courage to ask the tough questions, he says.

  • Make sure every meeting has a clear purpose and an outcome.

  • Use consultants effectively.

Define how consultants add value to the project, says Pope.

And lastly,

  • Communicate!

It is better to over-communicate than to not involve stakeholders, says Pope, but warns about “waffle words”. “If someone is not clearly communicating back to you that means he or she either doesn’t know what’s going on or doesn’t want you to know.” Ulrika Hedquist

Talk B2B, not techno babble

Arriving at a stormy time in his organisation’s history to build an IT department from scratch made John Dunn, CIO of Hi Fert, the second largest fertiliser distributor in the Asia Pacific region, very much focused on delivery business value.

Two years before Dunn stepped in, Hi Fert was a business unit of Western Mining Corporation. In 2004, Hi Fert contributed $250 million to an $8 billion revenue enterprise, which Dunn describes as being a “pimple on their bottom”. WMC was taken over by BHP Billiton, but the year after the takeover, Hi Fert’s market share dropped to 12 per cent from 30 per cent, and in Dunn’s words, “our owners panicked.”

In the turmoil of divestiture, mergers and acquisitions that in 2006 took Hi Fert to an A$350 million business, Dunn came onboard to build an IT department from nothing.

Foremost in his mind is a pursuit of value as it removes a discussion about costs, Dunn believes. If however you have a dialogue with your business about costs, you will always be pursued for cost reductions.

Getting budget approval by management is a challenge Dunn relishes. Instead of seeing it as having your resource and expenditure plan disputed, a budget challenge to Dunn is being excited about planning your resources and expenditure.

He inherited an overly complex set up comprising more than 200 applications installed, 12 different PABX systems from five vendors, one over 20 years old, plus a plethora of suppliers, making for a chaotic environment.

To clean up the mess, Dunn had to understand all the drivers and structure behind IT and, of course, the costs. The initial budget was below A$1 million, but in 2007 Dunn proposed a A$3.9 million one, with A$2.8 million recovered.

Dunn realised that talking business and not bytes was required if he was to get anywhere. Also, he needed to set his thinking in coordination and management of his budget.

In reviewing “budget narratives” of others, Dunn gives the following examples of how things go wrong. Too often request for an increase in “offsite storage of backup media” is proposed in the OPEX line as “enabling umpteen tapes per day with secure collection and storage”.

In actual fact, the GM, or VP, of Sales/Marketing wants to hear “improvements to ensure the availability of the customer portal” as that is what they’re looking for. By not answering the questions your business asks, you end up being seen as not offering value, and being a cost.

Budgets and proposals for IT need to be attached to business drivers and broader profit and loss calculations, otherwise they won’t stand up in submission and will fall down in reviews. Return on investment projections need to be completed, and you need to truly know the CAPEX costs to address any OPEX adjustments.

IT issues are now managed through BMC Service Desk Express and there’s a single operational level agreement within the business for resolution. Hi Fert’s standard operating environment today has minimal components as opposed to the over 200 before, and its fixed-line telephony has been replaced by a Voice over IP solution.

SAP has been enhanced and extended, through a stringent governance process that has delivered A$1.5 million. Juha Saarinen

Technology hydra for today’s networked enterprises

The rise of IT and collaboration has helped CIOs and not lead to workforce reductions, according to the results of a Business and Information Technologies (BIT) survey.

The BIT project is a consortium of 15 international research units, which aims to understand and track the impacts of IT on business practices throughout the world.

“While it is understood that IT deployment has grown, the survey tracks the extent and success of specific IT technologies. People surveyed include CIOs and IT managers.

Forty-three per cent were SMEs [small to medium enterprises],” says University of Auckland associate professor Dr Margo Buchanan-Oliver on the survey conducted early this year as part of the BIT project.

Buchanan-Oliver says issues addressed by the survey included technology adoption, transformation in the internal organisation of firms, market-facing activity, management of partner relationships and business results arising from the deployment of IT.

The three most widely deployed technologies were the use of website and e-commerce with 92 per cent of respondents having this technology, next was Storage Area Networks and Network Attached Storage with 85 per cent and finally wireless networking technologies with 81 per cent.

She says the most surprising result was that Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) was one of the least-deployed technologies, with only 10 per cent of people surveyed saying they utilised it. Biometrics was also a low priority with 17 per cent deploying the technology.

Buchanan-Oliver says these two technologies, RFID and biometrics, were fairly new in terms of deployment and a large number of organisations indicated in the survey that the technologies were not relevant. But 21 per cent is considering deploying RFID. There was an increasing demand for business intelligence from 92 per cent of respondents.

“There is a real need for IT skills at lower levels growing, with 83 per cent of CIOs believing constant retraining in IT is required.”

Technologies such as telecommuting and teleconferencing were being deployed more often. “Interestingly, we noted that outsourcing is not seen as leading to a workforce reduction, but respondents are split when it comes to automation that may be contributing to such reductions.

Thirty-six per cent agree and 39 per cent disagree.”

According to the survey, outsourcing is not a significant trend in many organisations. Basic functions such as accounting, finance and customer contact are largely done in-house. But 68 per cent of programming and 63 per cent of market research is outsourced.

Customer interaction also has several popular methods with 99 per cent of companies using the phone, 96 per cent interacting through the company website, 94.9 per cent through email and 92.9 per cent through face to face contact.

Buchanan-Oliver said customer analysis is mainly done through data warehousing (63.3 per cent), demand forecasting (61.2 per cent) and proactive information gathering (59.2 per cent).

Automation of CRM functions is carried out largely by the use of help desk (74.4 per cent) and content management 63.5 per cent) technologies.

The most widely adopted, IT-based channels and B2B mechanisms for purchasing were: direct purchasing (86.6 per cent), long-term purchasing contracts (81.4 per cent) and catalogues (71.10 per cent).

Moving on to business results, production costs had decreased 39 per cent while internal communication costs had also decreased 37 per cent due to the adoption of IT.

But she said there is an overall increase in IT related costs (58 per cent).

“This is expected with increasing consumption of IT related equipment and services. People believe IT has positively impacted revenues with a rise of 51 per cent, profits with 47 per cent and a number of new product offerings,” she told those attending the conference.

About half the organisations indicated that customer buying behaviour, customer expectations and customer satisfaction were strategic areas improved by technology.

The next BIT survey will held in 2010. Hamish Barwick

How CIOs can deliver business value

Improving business process has been a top priority for CIOs, says Dr Marcus Blosch, Gartner managing vice president in the agenda management group, on the results of the latest global survey of CIOs by the analyst firm.

“One reason is the issue of taking costs out of the business. Focusing on business process allows you to do that. You’ve got using business process as a basis for automation.

“But there is also open innovation where you start networking with people outside your company to deliver value.”

According to Blosch, innovation and partnering is the future of business process. “An example of that is Nokia. It doesn’t develop the games for its mobile phones, there is another company that does that.”

Blosch explains the different types of business strategies. “One is product innovation, which is how Sony works. The company is organised around product lines.”

The second is operational excellence. “Companies are interested in making business processes super efficient and making it easy for clients to do business with them.”

The third is customer intimacy.

“Companies really understand customers and its segments, and focus on delivering them targeted services that they particularly value. It’s about relationship, intimacy and knowledge.

“Most CIOs are focusing on structural change within their organisation. You can’t talk about contributing to business strategy if the email didn’t work, but the pendulum is swinging away from a CIO-focused intention to the front office customer facing type stuff. Two issues have become clear in the past few years. IT has two distinct cultures or responsibilities. One is providing the core of IT services and the other is using the power of technology to help support business growth.

“One of the big problems we have within IT is that in delivering business value we often relate it to the business organisation from a core IT perspective. What people are really interested in is innovation and change.”

He says companies who want to drive change are recruiting CIOs from management consultancy ranks. “This is because they have the skills the business needs and they have good communication skills to go with it.” The survey also indicated enterprises will invest in IT that delivers distinctive solutions. CIOs had also changed technology priorities according to the survey.

“Business intelligence comes out at number one in terms of technology priority with 11.2 per cent. It’s interesting that service orientated architecture is dropping down to 6.7 per cent, which shows IT isn’t driven by fashion.”

Another interesting result in the survey was that CIOs see challenges in implementing many of their own strategies for 2008.

“As one CIO put it to me, `I’ve got the right number of people in IT, but they’re probably the wrong ones’. As the pendulum swings away from traditional IT and technical skills to focus on business innovation skill sets, things change.”

“Fifty-nine per cent of CIOs agreed that IT delivers on the enterprise strategy, 62 per cent agreed IT service levels meet business expectations and yet only 28 per cent said IT has the right number of skilled people to meet business needs. This issue about skills and recruitment is going to be one of the big turning points within IT.” Hamish Barwick

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