Synchronizing the C-Suite – Aligning Business & IT Priorities
Digital transformation is changing the way businesses operate, slowly collapsing workplace silos in on each other. This is most evident at the top: lines are blurring across traditional c-suite roles and new titles, such as chief marketing technologist, are emerging. As changes trickle down, the entirety of the organization needs to realign priorities to make sure they support operations as a whole. The days of behaving as if each department exists inside a vacuum – each with their own set of metrics – are no longer.
Take CIOs and their IT departments for example. Traditionally, efforts have been spent investing in tools that meet a certain set of criteria: maintenance costs, level of security, ability to scale, productivity enabler, etc. The criteria fall short in addressing how people will ultimately end up applying the tools in their workday. Forward-thinking businesses are viewing employees as consumers, marrying the needs of the end user with those of the enterprise.
So how can business leaders work together to bring competing interests in line with organizational goals?
According to a recent Gartner survey of CEOs on how they are tackling digital transformation, behind growth, 38 percent say that IT is their number one priority (the highest it has ever been since the launch of the annual study). While they recognize that IT will help improve the bottom line – with 56 percent stating said their digital improvements have already increased profits – this comes with a caveat. Our own study of CIOs revealed that while executive leadership sees the value of IT and its role in bringing about digital transformation, CIOs are expected to save 12 percent of their budget over the next five years. Executives want more from IT, but they want to pay less for it.
Finding Common Ground
The key is finding a middle ground: collaborating to find cost saving opportunities that enable various lines of business to do their jobs more efficiently and reduce the amount of time IT spends in resources and budget.
One such example is the communications stack. It is already a pain point for CIOs, with 85 percent saying it takes too much time to implement, costs too much to manage, and that they have insufficient resources to properly train users on the tools. That’s why many are turning to cloud-based unified communications, which can drastically reduce overhead costs and personnel resource allocation. UC frees CIOs to be the chief innovators they need to be to help support digital transformation while also meeting c-suite goals and expectations.
Education and collaboration are also vital. Priorities aren’t meant to be static; they must change and adapt to meet new challenges. The left hand can no longer exist not knowing what the right is doing. This leaves departments left making decisions independently at the expense of long-term success.
As digital transformation continues to be a significant focus for leadership, IT will be expected to step out of the role of support and into one of active growth driver. This requires collaboration on behalf of the entire c-suite to ensure success.