Being a CIO can be a thankless task. Keeping the “lights on” and IT systems at high availability levels requires rigorous managerial discipline and processes and enormous skill.
But to the frustration of the managers and specialists involved, this effort is often unacknowledged. “They (the business) just don’t value us enough!” is a common refrain.
Increasingly IT articles and media pieces lament the lack of value accredited to IT. The writers point out how dependent organizations are on systems, “they couldn’t last a day without our systems!” They also point to the disruption generated when a system goes down, or a person’s computer doesn’t work. “See, now they recognize how important we are.”
The remedies suggested for this poor recognition seem to come selling the value of IT to the rest of the business. The theory is that if the company cannot recognize IT’s value in the course of their work, they might if given a PowerPoint presentation on the subject. Sadly, they won’t. If the business areas don’t value IT services today, they won’t suddenly change their minds after a presentation. For comparison, when was the last time that the Finance or Marketing departments ‘marketed’ their value? And, even if they did, would a presentation on “How well we’re managing the fixed assets” change the organization’s view of their value?
“Selling” the value of what IT does is not the solution. Instead, CIOs need to understand that value is in the eye of the perceiver and that there are high and low-value areas. To increase perceived value, you need to increase the delivery of recognized value in the areas that matter. But you still have to continue to keep the “lights on”.
The TOP IT Value Pyramid™ explains which IT roles and services are valued, and why and which are not valued, and why. The model also describes how the perception of value will inevitably change over time. What makes a hero this year will be expected next year!
This book is essential reading for CIOs who wish to become highly valued members of the leadership team.
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