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Operations

What IT leaders need to know about the management and effective running of the IT organization.

5 survival tactics for CIOs

There’s a lot going on in the CIO’s world. Change is not a new phenomenon for CIOs, but it does seem that there are some fundamental shifts happening that are changing the relationship between information technology and its users, between information technology and the IT department, and changing the role and influence of IT within the business.

Driving these changes are both technology developments and business realities, including cloud computing and the accessibility of IT capabilities outside of the IT department; mobile computing and social media -- both contributing to the erosion of the dividing line between enterprise and public or personal information resources; and, the increasing pressure to lower costs while streamlining business processes and improving responsiveness.

So in the face of such changes in the game, how do CIOs remain relevant and ahead of the wave? That's a question I’ve discussed with a number of CIOs, and it's been a topic enthusiastically debated at several of our CIO Roundtable events. And in the course of those discussions a number of themes have emerged that represent a sort of list of CIO survival tactics.

Build a winning team

Identify the key members of your IT team and make sure they know that they’re valued. Take the trouble to understand their aspirations and be clear about where they stand and how they can achieve their career goals within your organisation. Follow-through, mentor and appropriately reward the keepers in your team.

At the same time you need to be honest with yourself and your employees if any of them fall short in aspects of their skills or performance. If their shortcomings can be addressed through training, provide it. Otherwise work with the employee and your HR department to develop a humane and manageable exit strategy for the employee. But cleaning house is essential both to make room for winners and to maintain the morale of your existing stars.

Most CIOs agreed that attitude and cultural fit are as important as skills when it comes to building a winning team. Make sure you consider both when assessing your current team or new hires.

Stabilise the environment

Most CIOs see a future as leaders of innovation and contributors to business strategy. Before that can happen, core services have to run like clockwork and projects must be delivered in line with expectations. Simplify your architecture and get the right people in the right roles to ensure the ship runs smoothly. There’s no chance that you will have a strategic conversation with business peers if their email service is dodgy or their business applications unreliable. Any ideas you might bring to the table will fall on deaf ears if you and your organisation lack the credibility that comes with getting the basics right.

Build relationships with your internal customers

Marketing is not a natural talent for many CIOs, but it’s an important one to cultivate. Talk to your business peers regularly one-on-one. Get to know the issues they’re dealing with and their objectives. If you can first demonstrate your understanding of their part of the business you’ll have a better chance of gaining their support for yours, and be better positioned to provide them with what matters to them. And the more visible you are as a CIO, the easier it will be to sell your ideas.

See to it that your managers spend time with their clients as well; it’s good for your business now, and it will help them in preparation for moving up the career ladder.

My colleague, Dave Carey, is developing a whitepaper on the whole subject of marketing IT internally. Look for it on the IT Media Group web site. And if you would care to share successful approaches you’ve employed yourself, Dave is interested and is inviting input .

Understand the business

The pace of change has reached a point where IT-business alignment means too little, too late. CIOs need to be proactive and get in front of events so they can prepare the IT service architecture to deal with them. And you need to understand the culture of the business in order to determine how IT can really add value. That means understanding the business and the competitive forces that influence it. It means having a much closer relationship and understanding of the company’s customers and competitors. And it means doing what is necessary to become part of the business strategy discussion in order to influence it.

Deliver results faster

Gone are the days when projects could run into months or years of development. Users are impatient. Today, their expectations are influenced by their experience in the consumer space where finding and installing an app on a smart phone or tablet is almost instantaneous -- unlike the same exercise in the enterprise. But more than that, the pace of business change and change in available technology capabilities means a more nimble competitor could be eating your lunch.

A CIO at a recent roundtable explained her policy of delivering something of value every 60 days or less. That’s the mandate she gives her managers. It means that something is improved or added, or new capability delivered in short cycles; a 60-day ROI rather than an 18-month ROI.

The importance of IT in making businesses successful has never been greater and that’s elevated the potential role of the CIO to new heights. But you need to first get your survival plan in place in order to take advantage of the opportunity.

Google

 

Past Attendees


ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS

ENMAX - VP, IT & PMO

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP

Flightnetwork.com - CIO

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi - CTO, Americas

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT

LCBO - Director, Applications Systems

LCBO - SVP & CIO

Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lightstream Resources - Head, Information Services

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions

Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - SVP IT

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT

ROM - CIO

Russel Metals - VP,IS

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Director, Architecture & Engineering

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - VP, CISO

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

World Health - Director IT

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

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