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Interview with CIO Insight China on World Class IT

How to Build a World Class IT Enterprise:
CIO Insight China recently profiled Peter High, President of Metis Strategy, in an interview covering multiple topics related to World Class IT.

07-23-2011

by Yolanda Yan

In the interview, Peter focused how Chinese CIOs can leverage World Class IT principles in an evolving economy and increasingly global world. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How the role of information technology has dramatically changed in the enterprise
  • How companies in different industries must elect IT strategies that are most suitable and relevant for each
  • The elements a company must have to be considered a truly World Class IT organization
  • The World Class IT Methodology and its ability to assess an IT organizations’ capabilities relative to world class benchmarks
  • How to achieve and sustain world class performance
  • How IT can provide strategic and competitive differentiation for the enterprise
  • The expectations that are set for IT by consumer technologies, and the need to meet the bar set by them
  • Advice for Chinese IT leaders as China continues to play a significant role in the evolution of technology and business

An excerpt from the article, responding to a question regarding why it is exciting to be involved in IT:

Chief information officers or chief technology officers used to be order takers, leading a support organization within the company.  At best, they might automate a process that used to be managed manually, and that might yield some cost savings, but the thought of an IT executive within a company having the wherewithal or even the understanding to help the company drive revenues was not a common thought by any stretch of the imagination as recently as 15 years ago.

Many factors have led to this change, including

  1. The dot-com revolution, where the new, exciting channel not only was the basis for new businesses, but created opportunities and threats to traditional “bricks-and-mortar” businesses
  2. The productivity gains that technology brought about within companies, allowing them to grow the top-line without growing headcount at the same rate
  3. The fact that personal use of technology has led to higher levels of curiosity and expectation for business users as to the value that technology can bring to them
  4. The advent of customer relationship management (CRM) and business intelligence (BI), which are business disciplines powered by technology, providing great opportunities for IT leaders to forge partnerships with business leaders, especially those leaders in Marketing, Sales, Customer Relations, and the like

As a result, the clever IT executives recognize that they have an unprecedented opportunity to spread their wings, and suggest ways in which value can be created through the use of technology.  I often refer to the “strategic perch” that IT executives have within the corporation.  They have reason to have conversations with the heads of the divisions of the company (Marketing, Sales, Human Resources, Finance, Product or Service related divisions, etc.) about matters of strategy.  In some cases, these business leaders may not be having the same kinds of conversations with each other.  If the IT leader can push the business leaders to articulate their plans using common levels of clarity, granularity, measurement, and so on, then the IT leaders can play a part in suggesting where there are common needs that may be addressed through one innovative idea from IT.  They can also call out where there are diverging needs that are articulated that must be reconciled.  Ultimately, this then positions the IT executive to take a leadership role in innovation on behalf of the organization.  This is an exciting change, and it will be the subject of my next book, which I am in the very early stages of writing.

The entire article was published in Mandarin on CIO Insight China‘s web site.

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