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Success Hints for CIOs
CIO Best Practices

Three Fundamental Requirements for CIOs

1. Report to the CEO----to keep the CEO informed and to gain the CEO's support for your initiatives and projects. If you do not report to the CEO, you will not be viewed as a peer by other senior executives.

2. Cultivate and practice political skill-----to gain and maintain internal and external partners in your endeavors, to obtain buy in for your proposals, and to communicate to decision makers an understanding of the strategic value of IT.

3. Be technology-savvy as well as business-savvy-----so you can work with both business and technical managers to solve problems and exploit opportunities.

Other CIO Best Practices and Guidelines

1. Don't let the search for "perfect" stand in the way of making something "better."

2. IT itself has only disposal value; its real value to the organization is determined by its contribution to business performance--so make a point of regularly publicizing its contributions to business performance.

3. Seek ways to respond quickly to change; speed of transformation produces a competitive advantage.

4. The "IT alignment" problem can be eased if organizational goals and performance targets are clear, accurate, and updated frequently; CIOs need these in order to focus IT and monitor IT contributions.

5. Establish an organization-wide system for managing IT as an investment; it will improve business results and build confidence in IT.

6. Use business cases to justify the funding of proposed IT projects. Use updated business cases to justify the continued funding of on-going IT projects and in-place IT systems. This eliminates trivial demands for IT, creates a focus on priorities, and provides the data needed to track results.

7. Create an IT portfolio database that documents and tracks investments in IT as well as IT proposals and ideas for IT-enabled improvements that are not yet in the proposal stage. This will prevent overlaps of IT proposals, prevent overlaps and duplications of IT systems, and improve integration and interoperability. The dollar savings can be substantial.

8. Use IT portfolio management tools to identify business performance gaps, balance IT investments among competing demands, and manage enterprise risk related to IT.

9. Pilot test recommended practices and procedures before asking others to use them. Many policies and procedures in organizations are ignored because they don't work well in practice.

10. Ensure that there is much on-going personal interaction between business professionals and IT professionals at all levels in the organization. It will greatly increase mutual understanding and many chronic problems will disappear.

11. Publicize the good works of IT as an enabler of business performance; it will stimulate the organization to use IT in more strategic and valuable ways.

12. Take advantage of best practices identified by others as well as the practices to avoid. They offer valuable lessons learned that can have big payoffs at little cost to your organization.

13. Put a premium on innovation. Being the best of the best is fine, but being the only one is even better. Creating employee commitment is a part of this.

14. The greatest hindrance to change is likely to be corporate culture; study and implement ways to enable the culture to support innovative improvements.

15. Keep all promises; never promise something you may not be able to deliver.

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