Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Shape up or Ship out !

The life of a C level or senior IT Executive is not one to be envied: unless you've got the support and love of those around you. Unfortunately, this support and love is not the traditional kind that comes from your partner, children, extended family and close friends.

Without the backing of business managers the C level IT exec is looking at a less than relatively short life span at any organization.

The average tenure for senior executives in IT is measured by results. Given the increasing demands on business to perform, this pressure finds its way to the newly appointed CIO or IT director. They will have anywhere from 6 months to a year to prove their worth - after that it's back to the wanted ads.

Unfortunately, most of these relationships do not end well and the reason is quite simply that one parties expectations did not align with the others. The reason this happens is that after the initial interview most IT executives are caught up in the trap of operational activities rather than strategic analysis and looking at ways to make the business more profitable.

Perhaps the starting point will be to take the new appointee and give them a position that direct reports to the CEO (if that isn't already happening). The next and most important step is not to pay lip service to that relationship and ensure that the CIO is there at every senior management level meeting and allowed to voice their views on strategic decisions that are being made.

Most talk in the IT Service Management field requires that IT people get to know the business and understand their requirements. However, there is a flip side to this coin and it requires business people to be mindful and respect the role of the CIO. We are talking about senior roles here and at this level there is a mandatory need for business decision makers to take the time to review IT expansion plans, as it is this that has the potential to fuel the greatest growth.

IT professionals have heard it for years; "There is no budget!". All the while core business spending seems to roll along unabated. If business leaders don't start to see the potential Return on Investment (ROI) that IT holds for them, then the CIO is perhaps better served by moving somewhere that will.

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