The Wrap: Building a Business Outcomes Culture in IT

When IT’s primary role was to support business strategy, CIOs needed people who could understand a set of business requirements, translate those into technology solutions and deliver on time and on budget. But, in this new era of IT, when technology informs, or even defines, business strategy, CIOs need to transform their teams from order takers to order shapers and cultivate a new mindset across the IT organization. To deliver on the promises of technology in the digital era, IT pros must understand the business context in which they work, as they shift their focus to producing business outcomes, not IT activity.

CIO recruiter and author Martha Heller moderated a discussion around how top CIOs are refocusing their IT teams on business outcomes and driving real change throughout the company. She was joined by Laura Miller, CIO at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Karl Gouverneur, VP Digital Workplace, Corporate Solutions and Head of Digital Innovation at Northwestern Mutual.

Some of the key takeaway’s from this session were:

  • When making significant structural changes to traditional IT organizations that are mostly siloed, make sure that maturity level in your processes and architecture are far enough along to federate the application or the business front-end of IT out into the business.
  • As a first step (done at IHG) you can merge IT as an entire entity into the commercial team so that at least everyone is at the same table. Then, as you mature the organization and get all services and middleware in place and get all your IT Service Management (ITSM) processes in place, you can lift and shift the front-end business relationship team and place them into product lines.
  • Doing so, as a phased approach, provides the opportunity to not only build technology capabilities, but also build the skillsets into the teams in preparation for the ‘lift and shift’ and federation within the traditional CIO/IT structure.   The goal is to eventually extend IT resources and skillsets  out to the business units and shift the focus away from IT as an independent service organization.
  • Develop a structure that is focused on teams, lean and agile approaches, and management autonomy where decisions can rapidly be made at the lowest possible point of contact.  This requires a shift in mindset and may require the elimination of jobs and responsibility roles.
  • Be prepared for an impact on people, culture and personal feelings.  There may be a sense of loss among employees who may not be comfortable or ready for a shift away from the traditional IT structure.

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