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Leading through a downturn

Leading through a downturn

The CIO should be the person who is driving change within the organisation, says Paul Nickels of PricewaterhouseCoopers New Zealand.

Being more agile and managing change will be key for CIOs in the current economic climate according to the latest Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) Technology report. “This current forecast is all about agility,” says Paul Nickels, IT risk management partner at PwC New Zealand. Nickels says a lot of the traditional management theories are quite linear in terms of how they are constructed. “We need to move away from some of those aspects to be more agile.”

He says organisations should focus on components that create value from a customer perspective. “We see a fair level of this in the New Zealand market with our clients in terms of standing back and taking stock of their business.”

Nickels says organisations, and CIOs will now be required to be more agile. “The difficulty for the CIO is they are at a bit of a crossroads here. It [the report] suggests CIOs need to re-engage at the management table. I think by and large that is the case, but it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business of running an IT department.”

Most CIOs are vocal and passionate about what their team does, says Nickels. “They just need to rekindle an interest in wider economic factors and at executive level.” The report also highlights the importance of a business value model. This is a conceptual map that links senior management’s strategic intentions for the creation of distinct customer value.

“For some organisations, they tend to have detailed structure. That can, in some instances, lead to bottlenecks and loss of agility. At the other extreme, having lots of speed can lead to a degree of chaos. The CIO should be the person who is driving change within the organisation,” he says.

The report (available on www.pwc.com/nz/techforecast) says CIOs are fortunate as they have a view of the entire organisation. “They not only manage the IT assets but liaise with other departments,” says Nickels.

“CIOs are well positioned in this respect. A number of organisations we deal with in New Zealand have that advantage.”

The report states when enterprises adopt the methodology, taking the time to align business processes to a chosen business value model, and doing the hard analysis that can deliver agility, the CIO is the obvious candidate to support these activities.

“Once a business is agile, they’re in a much stronger position to see how change affects their organisation.”

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