Smiling young woman in business suit with arms crossed leaning back against wallAgility…patience…poise…unwavering strength…these are all qualities displayed by true leaders in times of uncertainty. There are many things that can contribute to uncertainty, from increased marketplace demands to competitive factors. Leaders must display confidence to minimize the impact of uncertainty; indeed, how leaders respond to growing pressures directly speaks to their leadership preparedness, maturity and acumen, according to Forbes.

Mental and Physical Composure

This composure can be seen not just in what leaders say but how they carry themselves. From attitude to body language, leadership in its most basic form is all about making colleagues feel safe and secure and not just about helping them increase their performance and effectiveness. Employees are sick of running on empty, trying to get ahead just to survive the jungle that is the workplace. They want to know they have a place in that workplace with a leader who will ensure their job security in tumultuous times. No one can do their best job during the day when they’re constantly looking over their shoulders and fearing for their jobs.


Avoiding Crisis Mode

Too many CIOs and other leaders are thrown for a loop when difficult situations are presented to them. While they may have all the credentials and experience in the world, some simply can’t handle the pressure of maintaining composure during times of crisis and change. This leads to ineffective leadership because those individuals can’t adapt to the unexpected. A true leader can stand above the chaos, see it as a chance for opportunity, maintain composure, and overcome that adversity. They can see beyond the present, institute change, and see it through to the other side. Instead of panic, there is calm.

This doesn’t mean the leader is a push-over. This doesn’t mean he or she is lacking in temerity, steadfastness and grit. It means the leader pushes through the noise, sees it for what it is, and institutes a clear objective without backing down. There’s no doubt that uncertain times can test the mettle of even the strongest of companies. This is precisely when solid leaders must act in a decisive manner, setting an example that all can follow with confidence. 

Tips for the Confident Leader

1. Keep emotions at bay: Wearing your heart on your sleeve may be good in love and romance, but it has no place at work in positions of leadership. Good leaders don’t let their emotions get the best of them; they don’t yell, panic, stress out, or cast blame. They keep their feelings in check, push through and channel that passion into a positive outlet of energy: solving the problem at hand quickly and efficiently. Expending all that emotional energy wastes opportunity and only tires you out for the real task.

2. Don’t get defensive: It’s natural for people to take things personally in the work place when things don’t go their way, assuming the unfair reality of office politics is the culprit. But while office politics does exist, the true leader doesn’t take a defensive stance; rather he takes a proactive stance. It’s a simple reality that business decisions won’t always go your way. That’s part of living in a society. How you maintain composure and move on during those times of seeming unfairness will make all the difference. We all know people in our professional and personal lives who figuratively stomp their feet and say “that’s not fair!” every time they don’t get their way. Strong leaders don’t waste time on taking things personally.

3. Stay fearless. Showing vulnerability or uncertainty is catching — just like a cold. Rather than infect your staff with fear, take a fearless leader approach and project a sense of calm under pressure. The projection of confidence helps you to act rationally, objectively, and fearlessly. And — also like a cold — that fearless attitude is catching among your staff. Having the confidence to step up to challenges without wavering will put a positive spin on those challenges and allow you to work through them with a clear head.

4. Of course, your health and wellness goes without saying. Studies have shown that those with a regular exercise regimen carry a more confident persona. 

Maintaining confidence in your position of leadership is imperative in showing your colleagues and employees the right path.

Finding True Digital TransformationDigital transformation in the business world refers to the efforts of companies to keep up with changing environments spurred on by customer demand and technology. Because digital tools and technology are constantly evolving and affecting how people interact with one another, this in turn changes the way in which we conduct business. How you transform your core business processes using digital technology will determine how you can achieve competitive advantage and gain differentiation in your market segment, says Techopedia. It’s essentially the third component of how businesses embrace digital technology, following digital competence and digital usage. With an ability to bring on new elements of innovation and creativity, digital transformation goes beyond enhancing and supporting traditional strategies.

What Spurs Change?

On the quest to find true digital transformation, one must understand the drivers that affect this change, namely profitability, customer satisfaction, and increased speed-to-market. There’s a general understand that CIOs should be the driving forces implementing this transformation for their businesses, but is this really happening? In reality, it doesn’t seem to be that cut and dried. In fact, digital transformation has many motivations and is the responsibility of many people, from top executives to lower-level employees, says CMS Wire.

According to research presented by MediaPost, poor customer experiences caused an estimated $83 billion loss by U.S. companies every year due to defections and abandoned shopping carts. With so many options these days offered by cloud, mobile, Internet of Things, and others, it’s easy to lose sight of quality of the data in favor or hyper personalization.

So the question remains: how can companies find true digital transformation with leadership from their CIOs?

Insights

Companies that can harness the power of true digital transformation will enjoy the fruits of their labor by being at the top of the heap in terms of competitive advantage and differentiation. That’s what we’re all striving for anyway, right? Here are some suggestions:

Have a real strategy ready to go. If you’re still grappling with how to come up with an operational plan that works for your website and social media platforms, you’re not going to get very far. Approach this goal not operationally but strategically, focusing on how your organization will be impacted by digital or how you can channel those new capabilities to broaden your overall business strategy. Lisa Welchman as quoted on CMS Wire says companies that have been disrupted by digital have become that way —  not because they didn’t have a CIO in charge of the transformation — but because they lost that 360-degree view of how digital would impact their digital models.

Recognize the full value of all digital assets throughout your company. CIOs all too often get into a file-centric mindset that puts them in a rut they can’t quite get out of. Instead, use flexible data models that will work to engage new streams of revenue in order to encourage innovation. This will go a long way towards creating important digital transformations such as attracting new clients or driving new sources of revenue.

Focus on the customer as central to your success in the digital age. As the CIO, you have to re-examine your thinking and accelerate your reach via the enhancement of the customer experience. Crafting a solid foundation on which to illustrate this transformation is key for longevity of purpose. As such, you must re-evaluate traditional roles and make sure you are incorporating the best talent and infrastructure to build a platform for your new targeted strategies.

Imaginative thinking, coupled with just the right amount of spot-on execution, will be the catalyst for true digital transformation.

Wearables and Your Health: Where Do They Intersect?Both sides of the health technology debate

Last week, we talked about what to watch for in the way of wearable technology this year. Now we’ll discuss how this innovative form of technology can be used to promote a healthier population. We all know that health insurance payers give out incentives to providers for healthy patients; to obtain these incentives, healthcare providers must gather more data, communicate more effectively with their patients, and get them engaged in managing their own health. Why not use technology to automatically gather this data and send it back to the patient’s medical record? This method ensures accuracy, efficiency, timeliness, and accountability — things that can be sorely lacking in today’s healthcare management system.

The use of wearables, once a practice driven solely by individuals hopping on the “cool” factor of a FitBit, is now moving into the realm of employer- driven incentive as part of their health and wellness programs. Research has calculated a clear ROI on those who use wearables vs. those who do not. In fact, as part of a study conducted by Springbuk, employees using wearable technology cost $1,000 less on average for a company than those who didn’t. 

Undoubtedly, wearables are ideal for tracking and monitoring ongoing health and daily fitness activities. In fact, many companies are already boasting they can achieve this (you may have heard about Apple’s recent announcement of a patent for a device that can gather and process electrocardiographic measurements; or perhaps you’ve heard of wearable pregnancy trackers). Wearable devices, along with mobile health apps, have made health data collection extremely convenient because they integrate with patients’ daily activities and reflect that activity in a quantifiable way. The information that can be collected from patients can play a critical role in how the world of medical advancement will look in the future, with wearables allowing both patients and care givers to measure a variety of indicators and generate feedback on anything from everyday health to specific markers for disease.

This can also aid in medical research; in effect, future generations can benefit from information gathered directly from users today. Healthcare professionals can gain insight into how diseases progress, which treatments are effective, how symptoms improve with certain treatments, etc. The availability and capability of the data that can be collected is mind numbing if you stop to think about it all.

Bridging the Gap

However, just because the technology is here doesn’t mean there aren’t other issues or obstacles that can stonewall the real-world integration of these technologies to the Electronic Health Record, such as:

  • Device weight
  • Cost
  • Security issues
  • Privacy concerns
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Regulations
  • Vendor bureaucracy

In addition to all that, there are ethical, legal, and social implications that make many healthcare professionals a bit reluctant to welcome wearable data into the electronic medical record, points out Forbes. Of course, there is always the possibility that a physician could be sued, for example, if a patient’s exercise pattern changed over time and the doctor failed to address it. Other concerns doctors may have include: How accurate is the wearable on any given day? What if there is a malfunction? What will each doctor do with the mountains of health information received? Is there a quantifiable way to document it all and make sense of it? Will this add to a workload that is already over stressed?

As you can see, many things still stand in the way of achieving a seamless connection between wearables and integration into patient records. It’s starting, though. With 274 million wearable electronic devices sold worldwide in 2016 alone, there’s no stopping the evolution of a simple fitness tracker into something much more helpful and potentially life saving. Novant Health, for instance, led the way in 2015 when it introduced its electronic patient portal, MyChart, so patients could share data from their fitness tracker with their doctors. This form of patient engagement represents the future of wearable technology integration.


Bringing Wearables into the Main Stream Health Community

With so many questions as to the security, accuracy and regulation of wearable technology and patient records, is it possible to develop standards for what data can be used and validated? Yes. The technology is there, it just has to be paired with policies that will protect patients’ rights. Once this happens, though, we can make wearables mainstream to help improve our populations’ chronic diseases. Looking ahead to what’s on the horizon, it’s certainly possible that such wearables can take this all one step further and alert or prevent the consumer from making unhealthy choices during the day. Hey, if Amazon and Maytag can automatically tell you when you are low on a product or an appliance needs service, certainly we can make this commonplace with our wearables!

Why Wearables Are Important and What To ExpectFitbits…Jawbones…Garmin…Samsung… these are all examples of wearables designed to track our health and activity levels, as well as alert and remind us to do stuff. From smart watches to smart glasses, wearable technology makes up a burgeoning market today: that of IoT (Internet of Things) personal devices. You wear these devices on your body — most notably your wrist — to get up to the second updates on everything to do with your health, from heart rate to steps taken.

Wearables represent a critical transformation in the world of technology that is breaking through the barriers of simple computer screens and utilizing technology that you can put on in the morning when you’re getting dressed. No cumbersome laptops, no annoying connections to charging cords, and best of all — they’re light weight — not much heavier than a normal watch. These devices are part of a large money-making opportunity for technology companies, with the sale of wearables slated to increase from 275 million units in 2016 to 477 million units in 2020 — a $61.7 billion revenue opportunity, according to Gartner.

What to Expect in the Near Future

There are many new types of wearables on the horizon for 2017, ranging from biometric authentication and mobile health monitoring to virtual personal assistants (VPAs) and smart coaching. Here are just a few more examples of what’s coming to store shelves in the next two years:

  • Energy-boosting using harvesting
  • Embedded security
  • Conformal electronics
  • Virtual and augmented reality
  • Accurate motion recognition
  • Wearable processors

What Types of Technology to Look For

Because this is such a competitive market, technology providers are looking for ways to stand out. There are many ways they can achieve that in order to boost the user experience and make the most impact in a business sense. One area is in battery life. Right now, this is a concern among wearables users. If battery life can be extended to ensure the user has a superior, hassle-free experience, this could be a game changer in the IoT arena. Another area of improvement is security. With data breaches in the news nearly every day, security is understandably a big concern for users. Decreasing the possibility for confidential data exposure is something many technology provides are implementing in their new devices.

Of course, improvements on design are always an area of focus. Smart watches are the most popular form of wearables right now, but the intention is to move into less obvious forms such as bio patches and electronic skin. As mentioned above, the ability to immerse the user in the technology through augmented reality and virtual reality will also be an important factor. Hand in hand with that is the ability to incorporate object and movement tracking in an effort to boost sensor accuracy.

As they seek firmer footing in a changing marketplace, today’s technology providers will push for smaller sizes, more lightweight solutions, less conspicuous construction, and more advanced designs.  

Next Up…

Stay tuned for the next blog where we explore why wearables aren’t just good for individuals: they’re also sought after by employers. Research shows a return on investment by companies promoting the use of wearables as part of their health and wellness programs.

Leadership Endures: CEOs Come and GoThe CEO of a company has historically been the driving force in overall strategy and vision. Same goes for all types of leadership, from CIOs to CFOs…all play an important role in advancing a company forward. The key here is “forward.” While the person in this position is important for a particular point in time, this role is static — a snapshot, if you will, of an organization’s success or failure at a fixed point in time. What’s most important is enduring business performance that stems from leadership culture as well as deliberate, well-thought-out development of leadership at every level.

The CEO Strategy

No one’s doubting the CEO’s role. However, research shows that the level of a particular company’s maturity in their leadership development has a far greater influence on their long-term performance than anything else, including individuals who fill the role of CEO, CFO or even CIO. So how do strong companies with an eye on the future choose CIOs, not just for their individual skill sets, but who will advance the company culture of success to endure in the future long after they’re gone?

  • They link leadership strategy to business strategy.
  • They make sure their leaders are aligned, coached, and trained in the company vision.
  • They build leadership development programs and select professionals based on their ability to drive the company’s strategy.
  • They incorporate leadership qualities into the corporate culture at all levels: managers, supervisors, etc.
  • They develop leaders from the bottom up.
  • They invest a lot of money in leadership development through training, seminars and workshops.
  • They create their own unique leadership model based on research, rather than hire a consultant or adopt an existing model.

Leadership that endures is built right into the very core of a company. That way, when a CEO leaves and a new one takes over, the strategy is already lined up, waiting for continued implementation. Of course, every leader brings his or her own unique spins to the strategy, but the bones should be solid and built to last the test of time. CEOs are there to adopt the leadership culture, make changes as needed, and weed out areas of complacency. Their job is to be the catalyst behind a culture of working as one to perpetuate the goals of the organization. That means fostering teamwork and holding people accountable no matter which level they happen to be at.


Leadership and Technology

Technology is one important sub-set of a company’s success. Without proper management across the board and over time, it can be difficult to drive effective change that lasts. When it comes specifically to CIO leadership as it pertains to technology to drive a company forward, the same principle applies. Strategies that ensure enduring long-term performance despite who’s sitting in the CIO seat include:

  • Clear definitions of requirements
  • Consultation with all team members on goals
  • Creation of specific and measurable goals
  • Regular tracking of progress

CIO recommends using the SMART acronym when setting goals for the long term designed to transcend individual leaders:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time bound

Creating a Culture of Endurance

In short, the success or failure of a company has more to do with strategy and vision for its long-term success than the individual. Clearly, there are innovative CEOs that propel a company to greatness, and then there are some very bad CEOs that damage that vision and set back the corporate culture; some companies bounce back from that and some don’t. The key is to establish a leadership strategy that can stay the course throughout the decades and that can weather any storm that may blow in.

Population HealthAmidst growing concern over the health of the population as a whole, a shift is underway to focus less on individual care and more on managing the population’s health. First, let’s define what population health is. The term population health first emerged in 2003 after David Kindig and Greg Stoddart defined it as “the health outcome of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group,” according to HealthcareITNews. Population health refers to the health incomes of a group of individuals, which can be divided not only according to geographic ties such as communities and countries, but also on a smaller scale as well, such as employees, prisoners, disabled people, and ethnic groups.

Population Health Importance

Policy makers are looking to the importance of the population’s overall health as it regards to the distribution of health. Let’s put it this way: marks for overall health could be very high IF most of the population is healthy, which underscores the fact that a small minority is less healthy in an effort to drastically reduce that gap. Many factors can influence health, from an individual’s behavior and genetics to social and physical environments. Medical care systems also play a large role. Population health outcomes rely on the impacts of these factors as a whole.

Now what about public health? This is defined as the efforts of state and local public health departments to treat individual health through prevention of epidemics, the containment of environmental hazards and the encouragement of healthy behaviors. Public health encompasses what we do as a society to assure people in that society can be healthy. However, a gap exists here that does not account for major population health determinants like health care, education, and income, which are traditionally outside the scope of public health authority and responsibility, says Improving Population Health.

Problem is, with the traditional model, the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group, are largely ignored. That’s where population health comes in, to focus on the interrelated conditions influencing health populations over the course of lifetimes where systematic variations and patterns are taken into account in order to create policies that improve the well-being of populations over time.

A Fundamental Shift in Healthcare

That being said, there is certainly an overlap of sorts where population health and public health meet in the middle, combining forces of population health activities within general practices, public health activities with the community, and leadership efforts in policy development. The goal of population health is to broaden the responsibility of policy makers to think outside the box rather than simply focus on a single sector or for advocacy groups to single out a specific disease. With the average American living much longer thanks to improved health care and healthy awareness initiatives, it becomes more important than ever to identify population health trends that will ensure the well being of large groups of people across various demographic, social and community ties.

A fundamental shift in our way of thinking about healthcare is underway — not just in who it affects but how it is delivered as well. The traditional healthcare model is slowly but surely giving way toward a different way of thinking, a different way of approaching population trends that are transforming the world in major ways. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says it best: a focus on population health can help us improve the biomedical, economic, and behavioral issues that affect the universal human experience.

Customer ServiceSome say customer service has gone the way of the do-do bird. For many it’s a lost concept, something that’s been buried over time in favor of the bottom line. But it says it all right there in the title: customer service. It means serving the customer, but it should mean so much more than that. As the leader of your company, you may have your neck on the line when it comes to cold hard profits. After all, you have a boss to answer to and he has a boss to answer to, and so on. Healthy positive earnings are rewarded, not necessarily the customer experience.

While you may have a fancy website, chat features, or even a robust e-commerce store, there’s so much more sandwiched in between the lines when it comes to truly understanding what “customer service” means. No, it hasn’t gone extinct, but it may be on the endangered species list. Something’s missing, that extra service with a smile, offering convenience to clients, going the extra mile to ensure someone is happy with their experience…that’s where so many companies fall short these days. It’s time to bring back the art of customer service.

At the Heart of It…

You can have the most streamlined services in the world or the best product…you can have the best CEOs in charge of your company or top of the line leadership teams converging in the conference room once a day to come up with innovative ideas. But customer service doesn’t happen in the boardroom or on a memo. It happens out there, with the people who are buying into your products and services. Customer service is more than just a phone number, more than specials and coupons. At the heart of customer service? People who care about the end result. Period. Who’s there to pick up the phone? Who’s there to solve a problem? Are there live people your clients and customers can speak to about an issue or do they get bounced around a virtual black hole until they’re finally dumped off to someone who doesn’t necessarily know how to help?

Just think about the quality of customer service in your personal life. Feeling valued is what makes people connect with a company. If you can’t achieve that, you won’t see repeat customers. Before you go thinking that a healthy bottom line means you automatically have great customer service, think again. Some of the wealthiest companies in the world have sub-par customer service, but this doesn’t necessarily make them great from a customer perspective.


A Simple Principle

It’s a simple principle: happy people come back to you, while unhappy people go elsewhere. Worse than that, they tell anyone who will listen about their awful experience. In fact, the Houston Chronicle says those who have bad customer service experiences tell between nine and 20 people, while people who have a good experience only tell between two and three people. Can you afford those kinds of repercussions?

Do one thing and do it right: make the customer feel they matter and that’s half the battle. Following through on that is also important, but that’s a story for another day.

Business TransformationNo one always likes change, but change is a necessary catalyst to improve the fundamentals of any organization. Transformation requires strong, authentic leadership in order to be successful; if not, failure is a very real possibility. CIO.com says that in many transformation programs, sufficient checks and balances exist so that failure does not readily occur; however, if not managed well, transformation programs can be delivered late, over-budget and far off the track of the original vision. Statistics show that less than 40 percent of transformation programs are successful, due to a disconnect that exists in the goals of such programs and the reality of resources that can be devoted to it (time, money, personnel, etc.).


Implementing a Transformation Office

That’s where the implementation of a Transformation Management Office (TMO) comes in. Someone has to be at the helm of the operation who not only recognizes the inherent challenges that come with implementing enterprise transformation and the work that must be done to achieve it, but who also can guarantee streamlined, spot-on execution at just the right pace with all eyes on the finish line. Combining strategy with clear-cut goals for implementation is critical for the TMO.


What Does a TMO Do?

This part of an organization is the crux of any successful transformation, with the central duty being to implement the complex task of adding value and accountability to the process. In general, the TMO will:

  • Lead the charge in coming up with creative, workable ideas designed to fuel the transformation effort and ensure it has the steam to move forward.
  • Offer a simple yet detailed approach to the process so executives and other key personnel can take those ideas and run with them.
  • Analyze how the transformation will take place and align with corporate vision.
  • Ensure the program has clear objectives.
  • Utilizes a streamlined operating model where efficiency and cost effectiveness take center stage.

The bottom line is, organizational transformation is disruptive. It’s uncomfortable for many, and it takes time. That’s why a TMO must be brought on board to concentrate on the specific tasks involved in orchestrating this endeavor, following it through to its completion despite such roadblocks. Putting this task on front-line staff and executives too entrenched in the organization already is a recipe for disaster. This is why a traditional project management office (PMO) is not a good choice to lead such an initiative. They deal with administration and compliance on a regular basis, and therefore would not be a good fit for the challenges that are part and parcel of a large transformation initiative.

The difference between success and failure of an organizational transformation often comes down to action. Your TMO needs to walk a fine line between strategy and clear objectives on one side but also implementation and action on the other. Anyone can sit in a boardroom and contemplate goals. It takes a strong leadership team to take those talking points and apply them in a value-driven way for success. Which side of the line will you be on?

Run Effective MeetingWe’ve all been there: showed up to a meeting at work at the suggested time, only to be met with the blank stares of a few other employees waiting around a table with some stale doughnuts in the center. The boss shows up five minutes late in a tizzy with his coffee and a bunch of loose papers. He talks at you, you listen and don’t ad anything because you just want to get out of there, the meeting convenes and everyone goes on his or her way. Sound productive? Nope.

Effective Meetings

Sadly, though, this is an all-too-real example of how meetings go in the workplace. Mandatory meetings that no one wants to attend or participate in can be very draining not only on the employees but on the boss as well. Such meetings take away from real productivity, interrupting thought processes and causing a gap in the day that could otherwise be spent better solo. However, when meetings have real purpose and are handle effectively, the results can be positive, engaging and worthwhile.


So, as the leader or meeting organizer, how can you run a more effective meeting that everyone will show up to, ready to listen and participate? In general, it’s a good idea to prepare a standard agenda template to help people come prepared, stay on task, and document action items.


Establish Clear Objectives

Send out an email to participants 24 hours in advance. Don’t just list the time and location of the meeting; give it a specific and defined purpose with clear objectives that spell out exactly what you hope to accomplish, says Forbes. Vague meetings are not a good use of time. Encourage your team members to come prepared to discuss the issue. This puts control in their hands so they feel part of the solution. 


Invite the Core Group

No one likes to be invited to a meeting, disrupting their busy day, if they’re not integral to the matter at hand. Invite only the people who have to be there, who can offer insight into the problem and come up with a solution. Don’t invite those who are not qualified to addressed the issue or who lack the skills to be of any real assistance. Relevancy is key here, or else you’re wasting people’s time.


Come up with a Schedule and Stick to It

If time allows, email a brief outline of the meeting to participants beforehand. During the meeting, use visual aids, such as the whiteboard, to illustrate your outline to keep people’s attention. Creating such an agenda will help you stay focused yourself to stay on track and cover what you want to within a certain timeline dedicated to each line item.


Follow Up with Action Items

Perhaps the one thing that makes meetings so ineffective is that afterwards, everyone goes their separate ways and forgets what they’re supposed to do. That’s why you should email a memo outlining what was discussed at the meeting, what solutions were formed, and who is responsible for following through on what tasks. Do this right away, or at least within 24 hours of the meeting so everyone is on the same page. Being clear in these action items will ensure the tasks discussed actually get done, and that everyone is responsible for a small part of the solution. 


In summary, here’s a quick takeaway of tips for running an effective meeting:

  • Show up five minutes early
  • Begin the meeting on time
  • Stay on topic
  • Follow a clear agenda
  • No comments on the side that are irrelevant to the topic
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Impose time limits on how long each person has the floor
  • Tell participants to leave their phones and tablets behind
  • Challenge ideas; not people
  • Encourage people to participate
  • End on time
  • Email agenda 24 hours ahead of time
  • Email results of meeting within 24 hours with action items

CIOs Demonstrate ValueCIOs have an inherent duty to demonstrate the value of their departments, and this is never more true than with IT. It’s the same across other platforms of a business, from sales to finance to operations. With technology becoming more and more commoditized, companies are measuring the value of their IT departments, and thus services, in regards to the preservation of business value, creating benchmarks as a result of those outcomes, points out CIO. NO matter what department you’re talking about, the same principles of revenue generation and top-notch operations are used to not only evaluate but also prioritize and measure various projects to boost shareholder value.


The IT department in any given company is an important cog in the output machine. Take a mobile sales platform for a healthcare EMR system, for example. If something fails at the IT level, the whole system gets hung up, resulting in the possibility of a patient not gaining access to the medication they need to be healthy. It’s too easy to imagine a bunch of IT pros sitting in a back room somewhere far removed from the daily operations of a business. Not so. They have just as much impact on the organization’s failure or success as anyone else.

Flexibility

Being flexible in an ever-demanding and complex environment is an important facet of an IT department, one that can make or break the operational capacity of an organization. As such, IT is required to provide more service and solutions above and beyond just “keeping the lights on.” In fact, IT and its partnership with business balance both past and present collaborations to determine future successes. Because IT is most useful when projects are delivered successfully to the end consumer, its value is dependent on persuading management to measure positive value-added contributions as well as maintain a steady presence — even despite such a complex environment. 


Business Capability

Much more than a technological-minded organism, IT offers a great value to the business capabilities of a given company, not just in the area of technology capability and contributions. IT as a cohesive unit can provide valuable input on business decisions, leading to solutions that benefit the company as a whole. So what can the CIO and IT do together to demonstrate effectiveness to the rest of the organization?

Business operates on a principle of “what’s in it for me?” — after all, this is how competition thrives. Therefore, IT needs to:

  • Realize what their pain points are
  • Identify areas of improvement, specifically in relation to IT
  • Provide a strategic advantage from a productivity perspective
  • Work on developing a partnership mentality
  • Demonstrate value instance by instance, with clear objectives

As the business strategist, the CIO needs to ensure IT’s strategic value is visible to the rest of the organization. Their position of leadership enables them to execute IT strategy, goals and objectives, and ensure they are aligned with the culture of the company as a whole. Driving business process improvements, IT becomes just as important a link in the chain as every other department when it comes to solutions that align with the corporate vision.