As they seek to develop a strategic role in today’s organizations, chief information officers and chief technology officers have a choice for their departments: to try to fulfill all the demands placed on them while spending less and less money, or to focus on being “fit for purpose” — providing the capabilities their company needs most, in line with its most essential ways of creating value.
Different organizations create value in different ways, and the information technology (IT) organization contributes to all of them. But few IT functions have realized their potential as an enabler and developer of the distinctive capabilities that give companies their essential advantage. This Perspective lays out a three-step process that can help IT leaders become critical partners to the rest of the enterprise in building capabilities, while making the most of the information and communications technology (ICT) products and services available to them.
First, analyze the value that the function currently provides to the enterprise. (There are six potential value drivers, ranging from helping to keep costs in line to facilitating innovation.)
Second, build a richer understanding of the organization’s strategic imperatives — its value proposition in the market if it is a business, and its core mission if it is a government agency or a not-for-profit organization — and the capabilities it needs to fulfill this proposition.
Third, develop a functional agenda that can work with your existing strengths to enable the most important capabilities. There are five archetypal agendas to consider: Value Player, Operator, Technology Leader, Service Broker, and Capability Builder.