You Have The IT Department You Deserve

by Peter High, published on Forbes


Having worked with dozens of IT departments at corporations around the world, I am constantly struck by how often I will speak to a CEO or a CFO to whom the chief information officer reports, and find that they are frustrated with the performance of the IT leader and his or her team.  What comes next is often a litany of complaints, the substance of which differs depending on the company, the CIO, and the CEO or CFO. There are some common themes however:

  • The CIO does not think strategically, and does not engage the rest of the organization in a strategic manner
  • The CIO is not cutting costs of IT as much as he or she should
  • There are concerns about the security stance of the enterprise
  • There is a perception that outsourced partners would be better suited to run most of what IT currently does

These are just four examples of a far more extensive list of complaints that I hear.  I should say that upgrading and validating IT’s value is the job of the CIO, and so primary responsibility rests with the IT leadership team to improve IT’s image, but it takes two to tango. IT does not operate in a vacuum, and more often than not, I find that most companies have the IT departments they deserve.  That is to say, if a company truly values IT, and wishes to engage the IT leadership team in the strategy setting process, they need an IT leader who is a member of the executive team, optimally reporting to the CEO.  Moreover, the divisions of the company need to formulate plans in a way that allow IT to drive greater value.

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