Business Alignment

  • The scope and pace of change in Information Technology organizations can be overwhelming. Organizations that are doing things in the “same old way” are, by definition, rapidly becoming out-of-date and risk being ineffective

  • IT Effectiveness AssessmentBy Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    Your company is growing. You know your organization needs to move fast, but in focusing on the business you may have underinvested in IT. Now IT has become such a constraint that you’re not sure your systems can keep up with the growth. On top of that, you’re concerned that IT and the lines of business may not even be on the same page.

    Or perhaps the CIO thinks that IT is doing fine, but the rest of the management team doesn’t understand what they’re getting for their IT investment. There’s even a concern that IT is too expensive. To make matters worse, you’re in a situation where the CEO can’t “speak IT,” and the CIO can’t “speak business”...and a complete disconnect has ensued.

    To get on track you need to quickly get your bearings and determine if you’re doing the right things, in the right order, and doing them well. An excellent way to do so is through an IT Effectiveness Assessment.

  • Leveraging LEAN to increase business / IT alignmentBy Paul Hoekstra
    Associate

    As an IT executive and consultant I've seen firsthand that many IT organizations are struggling to deliver relevant services to the business. There's a misalignment between what the CIO is trying to do and what his or her counterparts in sales, customer service, finance, human resources, etc. are trying to do. And what I've seen is that this absence of business / IT alignment often stems from the IT group not having the people or approach to understand the business from an operational point of view.

    As a result, I often see situations where, for example, the HR Director goes directly to a cloud provider and simply buys a solution – reducing the IT department's involvement to just doing a security check and integrating the solution for the login. This diminishes the value of IT as an organization, which in turn leads to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness across the entire business.

  • How CIOPS provides valueBy Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    As an information technology consulting firm, CIO Professional Services specializes in information technology strategy and business/IT alignment. To better understand why organizations seek us out for assistance, we spoke with Ed Barrantes, Chief Financial Officer of the YMCA of Silicon Valley.

    As described in a previous article, we’ve been working with the Y to help them overcome their very significant technology debt. They had a situation where systems had not been updated in over two decades! Here’s what Ed had to say about working with CIO Professional Services, and the 5 key values that he feels we bring to the table:

  • Selecting an Outsourcing Service ProviderBy Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    This is the third installment of our series on the outsourcing lifecycle. The first article provided an introduction to the outsourcing lifecycle and its five phases. The most recent article was about Phase I of this lifecycle, Assessing and Documenting Outsourcing Opportunities. Today we’ll do a deep dive into Phase II: Evaluating and Selecting a Service Provider.

    This phase starts with the creation of a Request for Information/Proposal (RFI/RFP) and concludes with the selection of an outsourcing service provider.

  • Business / IT alignment is vital for realizing the value of ITBy Mark Tonnesen
    Associate

    If you're a CIO you've probably heard the question before, usually asked by your company's CEO, finance executives or operations leaders: "What's the value of IT?" And chances are the people asking this question have expected a metrics-based answer involving a close look at the percentage of revenue spent on technology, the number of projects delivered, the percentage of on-time and on-budget deliveries, etc.

    Stop Asking the Wrong Question

    As far as I'm concerned, though, "what's the value of IT" is the wrong question to ask and the wrong way to look at IT's true value. Here's why.

  • Getting started with big data and analytics for SMBsBy Rocky Vienna
    Principal

    Good news! Businesses have never been closer to their customers. In fact, with the popularity of mobile apps, you can literally be in their pockets. Bad news – it’s a two-way street. Customers have immediate and impactful tools like Yelp, Twitter, and Foursquare to provide feedback to others on your product and services. A bad review can cause a feeding frenzy and negatively impact your brand.

    These realities help explain why large companies have heavily invested in Big Data and Analytics. These platforms allow companies to reap the rewards of improved prospect-to-customer conversion rates, increased customer loyalty and the ability to quickly respond to service issues. And all of these things, in turn, help prevent the negative online reviews that all companies dread.

  • CIOs need to learn to “speak business”By Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    The Path to Becoming a CIO

    If you want to be a CFO there's a fairly prescriptive list of things that you need to do to rise through the corporate ranks. For example, most CFOs start their careers working for one of the major accounting firms. They have CPAs. They understand general accounting, taxation, transactions, how to deal with board members and banks, and so forth.

    But if you want to be a CIO there is nothing that remotely approaches a prescriptive list of what you need to do to get there. There's no special curriculum and no widely-accepted "must have" certification.

  • Rise of the Fractional CIOBy Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    We deliver a lot of fractional CIO and interim CIO engagements at CIOPS. In fact, over the past six or so years we’ve seen the demand for fractional CIOs in what we define as the mid-market (i.e. organizations with sales in the $250MM to $1BB per year range) increase by around 60%. This is more than double the 25% or so increase in demand that we’ve seen for interim CIOs.

    While I don’t have any actual studies or data to back this up, from where I sit it seems that more and more organizations are reaping the benefits of using fractional CIOs. Here’s what you need to know…

  • Selecting the right IT product – a proven processBy David Haedtler
    Principal

    The decisions made about major IT issues – such as selecting the right IT product for your enterprise – can have an enormous impact on your organization's productivity and success. That's why clients often engage our services when they're faced with making software/vendor procurement decisions. They want to ensure that the contract is awarded to the product and vendor that is the best fit, not simply to the sales person with the closest ties to the CEO or other decision maker.

    For important IT decision making, such as choosing enterprise software, the secret to success is to define your selection criteria first, and then see how each of your options stacks up. Here is the proven process that I recommend:

  • IT organizational change must always be top of mindBy Mark Tonnesen
    Associate

    Organizational change – including IT organizational change – is not a "project." It's not something with a nice, neat start date and end date, with deliverables and measurable outcomes. For an organization to survive over time, organizational change must be a continual initiative or charter that is always top of mind for members of the executive team, including the CIO.

  • Evaluating IT initiatives without looking at the value case or ROIBy Mark Tonnesen
    Principal

    When evaluating potential IT initiatives, the most common approach is to focus on the numbers and look at the return on investment (ROI) or value case. For example, say your company is considering implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Chances are the CEO and CFO will ask, "What's the value?" Or, "If the new system will cost $10 million, can you show me how it will produce a $10 million ROI?"

    As far as I'm concerned, though, if you're asking about the value case or ROI when evaluating IT initiatives, you're asking the wrong question and looking at the wrong things.

CIO Professional Services LLC is a top-rated IT consulting firm, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in strategic IT consulting and business / IT alignment. Companies come to us seeking assistance with their information technology strategy as well as to source interim CIO / CTO employees or fractional CIO / CTO's. Our IT experts can assist with integrating IT into your business processes - better - up to and including 'project rescue' in areas such as ITSM / ITIL, IT service strategy, and IT outsourcing. Business / IT strategy projects we have worked on include upgrading ERP systems, cybersecurity and IT consulting, IT assessment and organizational change. Cloud computing and business IT remain critical in today's business systems, and beyond that to the migration to the cloud of business IT. Our IT consultants can assist with all aspects of business / information technology alignment. Contact us today for a free phone consultation - we service clients not only in San Francisco or San Jose, but throughout the United States.

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