lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2005

The McKinsey Quarterly: What IT leaders do

The common denominator is that the executive team must take responsibility for finding an IT leader and then commit to making that person successful. Three lessons emerge.

1. Hire creatively
Too often, CEOs and their top teams rely on stereotypes about who should lead IT. Finding the right person with the necessary skills isn't easy, since the role is fraught with paradox. An IT leader must be a businessperson who understands IT: an executive—like the CEO—who can create change but who individually may not have the clout within the organization to make things happen, and who is a peer of business leaders yet respected as "one of us" by the IT staff.

CEOs sell their companies short by searching solely for CIOs to fill this role. Banks in North America and Europe have asked chief financial officers or chief operating officers to lead IT. One large global energy company rotates business executives into the role for a set period to ensure both that someone with business skills runs IT and that the business units are then seeded with IT-savvy managers.

2. Help IT leaders succeed
The IT leader must be part of the executive team to get results and to build the necessary relationships and credibility within the company. CIOs who are perceived to be operating managers—not leaders—rarely sit on the management committee and often report to executives other than the CEO. The solution isn't to clear space at the table for an operating manager; instead companies should search for an IT leader who adds value to the management team.

Obviously, the IT leader needs the right resources to succeed, but an explicit mandate within the company—including a role in the decision-making process—is equally important. The management team may opt, for example, to give the IT leader veto rights over any project that isn't compatible with the company's IT architecture. One European telecommunications company made the IT leader its process architect. Business and functional leaders still operate the processes but must convince the IT leader in order to change them.

3. Create the conditions for aligning IT and business
Alignment won't come about simply from discussions between IT and business units. Instead, clear frameworks for decision making and alignment must be forged within these boundaries. The company's strategy should be specific enough for IT and business leaders to discuss trade-offs rather than debate what the strategy means, for example.

In some cases, performance frameworks help to align business and IT. One telecommunications company, for instance, uses business rather than technology metrics to review and compensate its IT leader.

Fuente: MckinseyQuarterly

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