When a CEO makes it a priority to strengthen their firm’s technology organization (bringing technology capabilities closer to their business’s strategy and operations), the most common outcome we’ve seen is a hand-over-fist financial performance boost.
That is not to say that fulfilling this goal is easy. With most businesses operating with a long list of strategic priorities, few feel comfortable enough to advocate for transformational technology to be at the top of that list. But – the CEO that can recognize the value of Digital is able to have a uniquely constructive influence on their IT Organization. More than any other executive, the CEO holds the power to bring the cultural and organizational change it requires to change IT’s functional role and resource model.
So, working alongside their Chief Information Officers and management teams, here are five questions for CEOs to ask to score the capabilities of their current IT function and measure its alignment with the business.
5 Questions to Ask to Assess Your IT Functions
1. How are we making key technology decisions (at every level of the business)? The best answer here is that business users and technology experts are working side-by-side. Some companies form unified business and technology teams that support one technology product of an IT platform. The ultimate goal is a clear alignment between IT and the business.
2. How do we track the value produced by our technology investments? Asking this question will reinforce prioritizing high-value investments. An effective approach will not only measure the payback from investments but also reallocate capital to promising opportunities.
3. How many projects has IT shut down because they weren’t providing value? Agile working methods produce good results quickly by developing starter versions of products to be able to share them with users (and get constructive feedback). If IT hasn’t shut down some projects, then the function hasn’t truly embraced agile. That’s because agile practices call for ending projects as soon as it’s clear that they aren’t working out—and for celebrating the discretion of the people involved.
4. How much custom development work goes into building new IT solutions? CEOs should make sure their companies have versatile, innovation-friendly architectures by asking this question. A well-designed architecture lets teams build solutions by repurposing a lot of previously installed software and writing modest amounts of original code.
5. What percentage of business decisions are being made with the help of AI? With today’s easy access to AI, all executives should be asking how it is impacting their business. Today’s analytics applications give users a detailed understanding of business situations so they can make better decisions.
It’s critical that your IT functions help deliver results based on your business priorities and strategy. Make sure to use the above questions to check in and ensure your projects are on track and adding value.