When I opened IBM’s CEO Study 2012 for the first time, I was quite disappointed. Headlines such as “CEOs are building analytical muscle” and “technology takes top spot” echoed like traditional vendor-speak in my ears.
But I was wrong. If you are a CIO thinking about your current and future role, take a few minutes of your time to read this document! Here are three takeaways for my CIO customers:
1) Prepare to think differently about complexity. The CEO Study 2012 brings an obvious, yet counterintuitive, solution to the complexity gap, described in the previous CEO Study 2010 as: “Eight out of ten CEOs anticipate significant complexity ahead, less than half feel prepared to handle it.” IBM recommends that CEOs address this gap by empowering employees and encouraging collaboration, instead of a regulated, top-down approach based on controls. In the digital world, developing such a culture of openness goes far beyond traditional HR practices. While the CEO and HR will continue to be in charge of fostering a culture of transparency inside the organization, they will need you to manage the platforms and processes that inspire engagement on a massive scale, including for example facilitating communities and ideation.
This is the conclusion of a recent research project on the future of IT governance. I am writing this summary of facts and findings hoping to get your feedback.
Here is what we did in the project: We started from the recently released COBIT 5 framework to set a baseline for what good IT governance is. We then assessed 15 case studies and selected nine that displayed characteristics of good IT governance. We also interviewed 25 technology management experts, asking them "whether and how IT governance will need to change when organizations adopt smart technologies such as a mobile, social, analytics business process management (BPM), and cloud."
What is the conclusion? The more your organization invests in smart technologies for business innovation, differentiation, and productivity improvements, the more you will need good IT governance for managing these investments. And because developing good IT governance is a learning experience filled with trial and error, the earlier you start applying good IT governance as a continuous improvement process, the faster you will benefit from it and your investments.
But what does this mean in practical terms? We identified five directions for change. They nicely fit with the COBIT principles:
1) Make technology development an integral part of business strategy.
2) Focus on cross-functional business alignment.
3) Engage employees at all levels of the organization.
4) Maintain an integrated IT governance framework and single ownership.
5) Develop separate responsibilities for IT governance and IT management.