IT as Short Order Cook vs Business Consultant

Wayne Bulman,    Board Member

Wayne Bulman,

Board Member

Does your organization treat IT like a short order cook instead of a valued business consultant? Are you concerned about the spread of "shadow" IT and aggressively look for ways to stop or throttle it? Are business teams avoiding IT because they feel IT will just say "No?" Do your teams complain about not having a seat at the table when business decisions are made and wonder why? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it's time for a culture shift in IT. 

Rather than IT controlling and dictating how technology is used, enable your business leaders to decide how limited technology services are best leveraged in the enterprise. Instead of IT telling the business what it can and can't do (i.e. a culture of "No"), define and present choices to the business on how IT is best leveraged, help them to make educated decisions, and fully support the outcomes. 

Rather than stamping out "shadow IT" as an evil within your organization, co-opt and guide it as an extension of IT that is embedded within the business. In short, transform IT from just order takers into sought after advisors or business consultants. This was just one of the key lessons learned from a discussion at SIM's recent CIO Breakfast Roundtable on the "Evolving Role of The CIO to Help Drive Business Transformation." 

This message of IT cultural change was also echoed this past Tuesday evening by our keynote speaker for SIM's Fall Gala at the Union League Club. 250 leaders in the IT industry had the pleasure of hearing retired Admiral Mike Rogers (former head of the NSA and US Cyber Command) discuss ways to best address the risks and challenges confronting today's IT organizations. 

His discussion was engaging and the insights he shared from during his career journey were so applicable for all of us. Among the many gems he left me with was his re-enforcement of the theme above from the CIO Roundtable - IT as Business Consultant. IT needs to champion a culture change and shift how it engages with the business. IT needs to reach out and enlist business teams as an extension of IT to help identify the organization's most critical assets and processes as well as identifying potential risks to these business dependencies. 

IT then needs to communicate these risks to business leaders in terms they understand. We need to present them with clear choices on mitigation solutions and potential impacts to their business operations. In other words, IT needs to transform into a business consulting role: Listen, help identify needs, discuss options to address, support the decision, execute.

Throughout the year, SIM-Chicago presents a rich variety of programs to help support CIOs and their teams to help enable business transformation and growth. We also provide a setting for you to engage with peers, build a stronger IT network in Chicago, and find ways to give back to our community. 

Take a look our upcoming SIM Events Schedule and take advantage of an event to gain some helpful insights, build your network, and help give back to our Chicago communities.