A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Archive for December 2012

Time Flies!

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There is an old adage that comes to my mind “Time and Tide wait for no man.”  The year is almost over.  Many of us CIOs may feel that there is never enough time to get all the things done.   We have a tough job – juggling resources and budgets to align technology to best meet the Enterprise needs.  It is a thankless job, for people notice it more when things are not working.  That is given.  The best we can do is to use the feedback to help us reshape our systems to function better, but we need tools and diligently spend the time to reflect and plan.  If you are fortunate to have a job like I do where things do slow down over the holidays, then now is a great opportunity to reflect!

Written by Subbu Murthy

December 22, 2012 at 7:29 pm

The best background for a CIO – Part 2

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In order to understand what is the best background for a CIO, we have to define the role of the CIO which in turn depends on the enterprise needs, and the appropriate CIO expertise and experience that best meets the enterprise expectations.  Clearly this topic has the making of a book – not just a blog.

Oversimplifying, we identify that the role of a CIO largely depends on the enterprise needs and culture.  Three broad types of CIOs emerge:  Organizations that are looking for efficiency will require CIOs who are process centric and can re-engineer systems to enable the enterprise to gain operational efficiency. CIOs who understand best practices and business processes may be well suited for such enterprises.

Organizations that are stabilizing the role of technology in the enterprise will require CIOs who have in depth technical expertise and people skills to align the resources to budgets and provide a clear picture of technology investments and the value they are delivering to the enterprise.

Organizations that are looking for growth may require CIOs who are innovative and enable competitive advantage with effective use of technology.  CIOs who are entrepreneurs and have a strong technology expertise may be better able to leverage technology to grow the enterprise.   Such CIOs are constantly looking at tools to provide a 360 degree of view of how technology is impacting the enterprise.

Written by Subbu Murthy

December 17, 2012 at 11:15 pm

The best background for a CIO – Part 1

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We often wonder whether CIOs should come from a business operations background or from a technical background or from a finance background.  Perhaps there are other areas as well.  The best background for any business depends on the enterprise needs, and since needs change over time, it is difficult to identify the best background for a CIO.  No wonder most CIOs do not witness two leap years in the same Enterprise.

I was at a networking meeting, and amongst the 8 at my table, four were Financial Consultants.  Usually, considering my vintage, the discussions with Financial Consultants is always filled rich advice on what to do and what not to do for our individual retirement.  This meeting was different as we focused on our backgrounds.  The four Financial Consultants came from as varied a background as one could imagine:  one was a mechanical engineer, the second a lawyer, the third a physicist and the fourth a civil engineer.  Curious that none of them had a finance background. I am sure all of them are successful and worked hard at being the best in the field.  This is leads to a great question for the CIO community:  can anyone become a CIO?

Written by Subbu Murthy

December 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm

The Role of Analytics to help Managers become Leaders

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Amongst, Peter Drucker’s famous quotes, it is hard to choose which is the best for he has so many good ones.  But one that I seldom forget is “Management is doing it right, Leadership is doing the right things“.   Some loosely label it as efficiency versus effectiveness.  A corollary can be seen from our implementation of dashboards.  Performance dashboards is all about efficiency where as Business Intelligence is about effectiveness.  While one could argue that this taxonomy can be counter productive since without effectiveness, efficiency is not useful.  However, looking at hundreds of performance dashboards, I came to the conclusion that implementors and vendors supporting dashboards were more concerned about tactical performance without providing insights into how to help leadership identify doing the right things.

Developing sound analytics may provide some guidance to leadership teams evolve a organizational strategy that is effective, or in Professor Drucker’s words “doing the right things“.  There is no magic wand to create analytics.  Leadership teams are usually technologically challenged, and technology experts rarely capture the vision of leaders.  We can keep arguing whether it is easier to teach leaders technology or technology experts leadership, but the critical link is the CIO.  The role of the CIO must transform from mere back-office efficiency to innovation identifying key measures that can help the enterprise leadership team articulate the right strategies.  Without the CIO being a core part of the leadership team, this transformation is not possible.


Written by Subbu Murthy

December 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

Posted in Analytics, Helping CIOs