IBM recently interviewed over 3,000 CIO’s from 71 countries and 18 different industries to better understand what decisions are top of mind for CIOs and how those are aligning (or not) with the overall business. The report, The Essential CIO, found that the top three issues that both CEOs and CIOs will focus on over the next five years are essentially the same - insight & intelligence, people skills, and client intimacy. The fourth highest priority specific to CIOs (with 64% focusing on this in th
The "Outperforming" CIO – Using Communication and Collaboration to Advantage
The analysis of the IBM report goes on to group the CIOs into four distinct categories, each with its own set of characteristics:
- Leverage CIOs need to make do with the basics
- Expand CIOs want to grow the basics and stretch resources
- Transform CIOs are going through major change such as a merger or integration with a key supplier in the value chain
- Pioneer CIOs are intimately involved with significant business changes such as pricing structures in the value chain
IDC employees have likely encountered CIOs from all four categories; however as noted above those CIOs that look at communication and collaboration in terms of transforming one’s organization will have a significant impact from the executive level down. Likewise, the IBM study demonstrated that those CIOs that tend to ‘outperform’ use communication and collaboration to their advantage, for example:
- Leverage CIOS went above and beyond the simple email and phone infrastructure to include a video-conferencing capability; or standardized and simplified information in a dashboard format so that everyone in the company was aware of changes, updates and other relevant information for the business.
- Expand CIOs in are comfortable outsourcing and this includes enhancing the communication and collaboration infrastructure already in place for more knowledge sharing.
- Transform CIOs emphasize real-time decision making, and the fact that you can’t make decisions without sharing information.
- Pioneer CIOS look for new ways to create revenue, encouraging open dialogue with customers and analysis of those conversations - what the study calls social network analysis.
Recently, my IDC colleagues, Claus Mortensen and Audrey Heng, interviewed the CIO of a global product safety certification firm who was given a ‘project’ by the CEO – develop a single, integrated culture across the company and all geographies via UC&C. The CIO knew he had a chance to use communication and collaboration to advantage, truly changing the way people worked at his company. He was essentially creating a virtual workspace across the organization, much like the Transform CIOs in the IBM study.
At IDC Manufacturing Insights, we continue to find evidence that communication and collaboration is gaining ground through the adoption of new technology, especially those tools (including the cloud) that level-set technical capabilities and provide a foundation for information sharing and collaborative processes throughout the value chain.
There are four key takeaways in the IDC report by Mortensen and Heng, Buyer Conversation: How Does the CIO Sell Culture Change Internally (IDC, Doc #AP6684804T, April 2011) that help CIOs in terms of improving communication and collaboration at their organization – and having it remain successful (aka ‘used by employees’). These are highlighted below:
- The CIO needs a clear vision for what communication and collaboration means to the company and what the desired improvements should be
- Buy in from the entire executive team is essential
- Choosing the right technologies to enhance communication and collaboration is important, but getting employee buy-in is equally as important
- Work with vendors that share your same goals and can meet your desired communication and collaboration plans