Perceptions of IT
According to a survey done by CIO Magazine in February 2005, these are the top-10 things that IT leaders consider to be the most effective at changing the perception of IT within a company. My comments (in italics) follow some of the bullet points.
- Have the business sponsor share ownership and accountability with IT for IT-business initiatives. This one seems like an obvious thing to do. It's one of the golden rules that every project management methodology includes.
- Conduct strategic planning meetings that include business leaders.
- Have a consistent governance process for IT investment decision making.
- Regularly present IT efforts and achievements to the board, the executive committee, and other governing bodies.
- Track IT's record in completing projects successfully. This is a particularly difficult one to do as success has many meanings. Simply delivering a project on time shouldn't count as a success. The project should, at the very least, be shown to add the expected value to the business.
- Employ internal relationship managers to work with the business. I agree with this one, sort of. The business needs advocates to represent their needs and “protect” them from IT.
- Tie IT compensation or bonuses to business-oriented performance measures. This one sounds good in theory, but for it to be effective, the IT group must be quick to eliminate those that are sub-par in their abilities and work ethic. It takes a team to be successful and the best people aren't going to be motivated if they know that they're going to be dragged down.
- Conduct internal customer satisfaction surveys for IT services and value. I've seen such surveys. They're often poorly implemented and include the wrong questions. I haven't seen any evidence that such surveys work.
- Have the CIO meet regularly one-on-one with CXOs to communicate IT value. Absolutely necessary. The IT group needs an advocate too.
- Encourage business sponsors and users to communicate the value generated by IT-business initiatives. I've seen this happen without encouragement. I'd also argue that such praise is more valuable when it isn't asked for.