Nowadays, CIO responsibilities have expanded beyond what was formerly expected of them. Today’s CIO has responsibilities that include aligning IT and business goals, delivering on competitive differentiation and developing new go-to-market strategies and technologies. So how does IT management use its unique position to spur business innovation? Let’s look at four methods that CIOs can use to increase IT’s value proposition within their organization.
Method No. 1: CIOs can drive technology investments that help better align IT and business goals
According to a recent online poll of 500 IT executives, the following represents areas where IT expects to have the most impact over the next year: customer relationships (acquiring, retaining), new-market offerings, user workforce productivity and company operating costs. The number one business goal, regardless of industry or business unit, continues to be sales. In the past, understanding the customer was a burden typically placed on the sales and marketing teams. But that statement is no longer true.
The conclusion that we can draw from this is that enterprise collaboration is vital. In a world where cross-functional team discussion about business processes and customer needs are key, companies with a collaboration platform and strategy in place will have a definite competitive advantage. The 21st-century CIO is expected to not only support employees but also sales, customer service and other interdepartmental teams that focus on the customer.
Create Corporate Culture of Collaboration
Method No. 2: CIOs can lead change efforts to create a corporate culture of collaboration
In corporations where information silos no longer exist, collaboration is a new way of life. Here’s an example: when a leading software company released a beta of its collaboration platform to employees, one immediate, recognizable difference was improved workflow.
Instead of sending one-to-one e-mails en masse, messages and files were being shared and stored in the new online repository-accessible by all team members. Discussions and decisions were happening much faster and workplace productivity improved by 30 percent within the first 60 days.
By implementing collaboration software across the enterprise, IT can help accelerate team efficiency and user productivity by using technology to retain, recall and share valuable corporate intelligence hidden within employees. It’s been said that today, more than 85 percent of a typical S&P 500 company’s market value is the result of intangible assets. For many companies, the bulk of these intangible assets is its people, its human capital. It is no longer what you own that counts but what you know.
Try capturing what’s in the mind of your employees and how it all connects-you may find the process a little exhausting. Disappearing corporate intelligence is a reality but it doesn’t have to be. Among other benefits, enterprise collaboration software helps you because it maps how knowledge naturally flows throughout your organization, evolves traditional knowledge management efforts and realizes cost savings by reducing duplication of efforts.
Enterprise collaboration software also increases overall connectedness and communication, increases company-wide innovation by empowering different business units to collaborate with one another, and measures the performance and value of user-generated content. In order to be successful in today’s business environment, companies must weave communities of practice into all facets of the business, from product development to prospecting to sales follow-up. And IT management can help lead this charge.
Measure Impact of Collaboration Investment
Method No. 3: CIOs can measure the impact of their collaboration investment
With CIOs gaining visibility within the enterprise and meeting regularly with their C-level peers, having the capability to quickly analyze, trend and provide analysis on how people are contributing within your employee community is more than just necessary, it’s mission-critical.
Adopt business intelligence tools that will help you analyze the metrics of your online community. Employ committed resources within your organization whose job is to consistently analyze the ebb and flow, decide what’s working and what’s not, and determine what to focus on.
In order to translate your investment into a tangible business value, you’ll need to report on your community network data. The information provided will help you determine exactly how much value your investment is adding to the organization.
Your enterprise collaboration software should be able to connect your employees and mine your community data and activity-only then will you know how efficiently information is flowing throughout the company.
Method No. 4: CIOs can set structure in place today to prepare for the future of the IT organization
This one’s simple: build networking into the growth of your organization. As daunting as it may be, 40 percent of today’s corporate management will retire in 10 years. What are you doing today to prepare for the Millennial Manager? Are you capturing, indexing and making searchable the extensive knowledge hiding in the minds of your current employees?
With a proven enterprise collaboration platform, CIOs won’t have to lose sleep over how to best harness their corporate intelligence. They’ll be able to provide a 360-degree view of how their employees collaborate and manage knowledge, while also extending that group effort beyond the firewall to their customers, prospects and partners.
In a world where the boundary lines are currently being erased and redrawn, now is the time to prepare for the future of business.
Ken Vernon is Vice President of Marketing at Telligent where he guides strategy and execution of go-to-market strategies. Beginning in 1995, at his firm McMann & Tate, Ken was an early adopter of online marketing technologies for enterprise business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients. Since then, Ken has been instrumental in the online success for a blue chip list of clients. Joining Telligent in late 2007, Ken has utilized his passion and experience in online marketing, search marketing and social media to help Telligent expand its online presence and execute successful programs. Ken may be reached at [email protected].