I recently read CIO Perspectives by Dean Lane (The Office of the CIO). Dean was kind enough to send me a copy, after reading his earlier work CIO Wisdom.
As with CIO Wisdom, this book is a collection of articles by various IT executives on topics of relevance to CIOs and IT professionals at large. The topics are grouped into four broad categories: Finance and Performance, Customers/External, Internal Process, and Learning and Growth. What sets this book apart is the diverse perspectives gained from the contributing authors as well as the breadth of topics covered that include the people, process and technology aspects.
Below are excerpts of key learnings from this book:
1- Guiding Principles for Successful M&A: “1) People are number one. 2) Speed is king. 3) There must be IT governance. 4) Design for scale and reliability. 5) Use common project management methodology. 6) Communicate effectively. 7) Align IT with other business function.”
2- Zero Based Budgeting: “Know the critical influencers of IT cost, keep the executive team informed and involved, be flexible, and treat your budget as a tool you use to align IT with the business.”
3- Business Immersion: “Business immersion is about learning how business functions based on your own observations and through the perspectives of your peers from within their functional areas. It involves making an assessment of the challenges and opportunities affecting each, and how this information relates to the company’s strategy and financial objectives.”
4- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): “…SaaS could create an opportunity for IT to grow from a (seemingly) ineffective cost center to a proactive technology strategy center, from deploying and maintaining software to a service-centric entity, supporting the business goals of the enterprise.”
5- Commitment and Delivering: “IT serves two internal customers. One is the executive management (the true customer) and the other is the end users. These two customer’s needs are not necessarily aligned.”
6- Phases of Corporate Lifecycles: “1) Spark it: Building/adding short-term capacity with low investment, 2)Grow it: Creating sustainable capacity for ongoing business operation and growth, 3) Hold it: Controlling costs in the face of steady capacity use and risk avoidance, 4) Trim it: Retreating or diverting to alternate modes of operation”
7- Leadership Characteristics: “What are the hats that a CIO juggles every day? 1) Officer: Be a full business participant 2) Visionary: Look to the horizon! 3) Technologist: Know the field and the market.4) Educator: Teach, teach them all! 5) Controller: Process and method makes it all tick and tie. 6) Executioner: Get it done or get it gone. 7) Firefighter: First responders save the day.”
8- IT Governance: “There are four categories of IT governance: 1) Investment governance…2) Execution governance…3) Operational governance…4) Organization governance.”
9- Elements of Communication: “Message…Transmitter…Receiver…Medium.”
10- Communication in Information Technology: “Communication in the business environments is critical to the success of any undertaking. Good communications cannot ensure good results, but bad communications will most certainly fuel poor results.”
11- Keys to CIO Success: “1) Understanding of the business…2) Project management…3) Customer and client relationships.”
12- CIO as Anthropologist: “The anthropological CIO reminds him- or herself that the ultimate goal is to introduce the most effective, not necessarily the most efficient, process and technology. Effectiveness is based as much on acceptability within a company’s culture as it is on best practices; the most efficient processes and technologies are ineffective if the community refuses to adopt them, undermines their implementation, or mounts an outright insurgency…Introducing change means learning about these soft aspects of the organization and navigating a course that flows with rather than against the cultural currents that travel through it.”
13- Innovation: “Innovation seems to be most recognizable as revolutionary, but it is only one of three main classifications of innovation: incremental innovation, evolutionary innovation, and revolutionary innovation.”