CEO vs. CIO, organization vs. IT department, employees vs. technology – how can business leaders bridge the gap between the business and digital technology?
Today, IT must focus on higher-level initiatives that go beyond simple day-to-day operations. To accomplish this, CIOs must work closely with other executives to plan, launch, and steer such innovations.
Yet many organizations remain fragmented, business units operate in silos, and IT is still viewed as a back-office function.
How can business leaders rectify this situation and bridge that gap?
Find out in this post.
10 Integration Priorities for the CIO: Organization vs. IT Department
In the digital economy, IT is an essential part of a business’s success.
Technology-driven innovation is often a source of competitive differentiation and can mean the difference between leading and following in the marketplace.
Yet all too often, legacy systems and mindsets inhibit creativity, growth, and keep an organization from operating as effectively as it could.
To solve this issue, CIOs need to proactively take the lead in order to shrink the divide between IT and the rest of the organization.
Here are a few tips that can help CIOs with this agenda:
1. Establish partnerships with other C-suite executives
To foster collaboration and build a more IT-centric business, Gartner advises CIOs to establish a dialogue with other C-suite executives, such as CFOs, CEOs, and CMOs.
One of the best ways to establish a working partnership is to understand the needs of each executive, learn their language, and speak to those needs.
2. Design, plan, and lead IT integration initiatives
To truly deliver value in the digital economy, modern businesses must place IT at the heart of their operations.
The integration of technology across business functions will support rapid innovation, product iteration, digital literacy, and, ultimately, organizational agility – all of which are necessary to surviving and thriving in the modern era.
3. Build a modern training program
Employee training is essential in the modern workplace.
After all, today’s changing organizations regularly introduce new tools and workflows. And in order to keep up, employees must keep learning.
Micro-training solutions, such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs), are excellent ways to streamline training, simplify the digital workplace experience, and improve performance.
4. Educate business leaders and managers on the value of IT
Since technology is a technical field, its value is often not fully understood by non-IT audiences.
That lack of understanding, in turn, makes it more difficult to obtain buy-in for digital projects, integrate IT into the rest of the organization, and maximize the ROI of digital investments.
CIOs and other IT leaders, therefore, should ensure that IT’s benefits are being effectively communicated.
5. Build a culture of collaboration and learning
There is no such thing as a “perfect” organizational culture.
However, in the modern enterprise, certain traits are more valuable than others.
For instance, since today’s employees must continually learn new digital workflows, it is helpful to cultivate a culture that values learning.
6. Be transparent with IT initiatives and planning
When employees, managers, and other business leaders have insights into IT planning, they will feel less uncertain about the purpose and the impacts of those plans.
As a result, they will be more likely to engage with and actively support IT initiatives.
CIOs should even consider taking this one step further – rather than just being transparent, they should invite participation from various other business units.
After all, that is the main reason to bridge the gap between IT and the rest of the organization: to remove barriers and work together as a cohesive organization.
7. Take an active role in organizational restructuring efforts
Integrating IT into the center of an organization means more than just adopting new tools and processes.
It also means adding new IT functions and hiring specialists, such as digital adoption managers, data specialists, innovation specialists, and so forth.
8. Democratize data
Another step in the digitization of business is data democratization.
When business units don’t share data and when they operate in silos, they are missing out on a large number of insights and opportunities.
By sharing data and becoming more data-driven, companies will communicate more effectively and be better able to extract value from their technology. And, just as importantly, the culture of the business will become more friendly to IT and technology in general.
9. Incorporate low-code and no-code IT tools into the business
Business software can be intimidating to employees for a number of reasons, such as complexity, programming, job displacement, and the need to learn new digital workflows.
One way to reduce that anxiety is to use no-code and low-code solutions, such as automation tools or app makers.
DAPs, mentioned above, are platforms that can be used by anyone to automate work tasks, regardless of their technical expertise.
10. Be a visible leader
CIOs can no longer afford to focus solely on IT operations.
They must expand their role and become leaders who are visible across the organization.
When CIOs are more visible to other leaders, managers, and frontline employees, the rest of the organization will begin to perceive the CIO and IT as a central part of the business.