Cloud Strategies and Boardroom Priorities

During my last blog post, I mentioned research that shows a disconnect that exists between IT and business executives. The report from Dell Services, conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit, spotlights the lack of confidence that CEOs often have in IT’s knowledge of the business and how it impacts strategy formulation. Those study highlights include:

  • One in six [17%] CIOs are only ‘consulted’ or have no role at all when IT strategy is formulated.

  • Less than one-half of C-suite executives rate their CIO positively in terms of understanding the business and technical risks involved in new ways of using IT. 
     
  • 43% say their company will increasingly use IT as a commodity service to be bought as and when needed.

In a study published in July by Gartner and Forbes, the board of directors is viewing IT with greater importance and promise as a competitive weapon. Of 175 board members surveyed, IT was identified as a top investment priority, tied with sales. While the spotlight has become all the brighter on IT executives; it does not necessarily resolve regular alignment with the business strategy. Boards are starting to recognize that IT is integral to all parts of the organization; it sits as the center of data and collaboration and can change the rules of competitive advantage and innovation. Maybe IT can seize this moment to further establish its contributions and constraints in the boardroom?

There are three things to consider before IT reaches for ‘stardom’:

  1. According to Jorge Lopez, Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, only 16% of board members have a background in IT. The IT executive will need to be very business savvy and diminish use of tech-speak when making the presentation and pitch. Leverage cloud case studies with comparable objectives or obstacles to make the point.
  2. IT executives should be careful to not to think entirely of costs savings but in terms of agility, efficiency, innovation, market expansion. While these maybe hard to define, we’ve seen years of over-emphasis on IT as ‘cost czar’ and they need to find their place/voice as enabler and innovator.
  3. Investments, such as cloud computing, should be presented as part of the organizational strategy, not a technology. Moving to a service delivery model offers a fresh start for the organization and IT only when planned and implemented correctly. Show how cloud incorporates people, process, and technology for servicing customers and stakeholders.

What else can IT do to make the most of this opportunity?