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CIOs Must Understand The Business They Support

The alignment of business and technology, especially in this industry, is becoming increasingly important. To be successful, technology leaders must understand and become a part of the business they support. Effective partnerships outside of IT will strengthen the CIO’s influence.

The IT department is at the center of business decisions and initiatives. Once a need is identified, the IT department will work with the business to deliver a solution. Before delivery begins, technology leaders often must handle the contracting process and act as the liaison between solution provider, procurement, and legal departments.

Because technology leaders work with so many systems and vendors, CIOs can spend significant time on contract negotiations and tracking contract renewals and expirations. This can be time-consuming and reinforces the importance of fostering strong partnerships with departments and leaders throughout the organization. These relationships, or lack thereof, can make or break the implementation of technology to address a business issue.

When it comes to purchasing decisions, technology leaders are also often faced with obtaining support for technology investments from other executives or the Board of Directors. Strong relationships are essential for success in this area as well. There’s ROI that comes into play, too, beyond just keeping costs low. When making new technology investments, there is often an increase in cost before savings are eventually recognized. When a CIO needs to convince stakeholders, who may not be intimately involved with the projects, it’s important to always tie the purchase back to how it drives business value.

With technology implementations, there will be bumps in the road. Technology leaders must acknowledge this reality and share this with their business partners. The goal is to react and resolve quickly. It is essential to be transparent and set realistic expectations from the beginning. Being transparent minimizes surprise and gives the CIO credibility. Sincerity is key to forming successful partnerships with stakeholders. Once stakeholder trust and support are established, work becomes more enjoyable, and relationships thrive.

If a CIO is solely focused on technology and does not appreciate the business perspective, it will make the job difficult and more stressful than necessary. Business and technology leaders must work together, share their insights, and form strong partnerships to achieve their organization’s goals.