Five Key Questions to Expect From Your Board

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 07-11-2016 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Five Key Questions to Expect From Your Board
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    Five Key Questions to Expect From Your Board

    More board members are keenly focused on how well CIOs and their tech teams are collaborating with business to accomplish strategic, ROI-boosting goals.
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    "To What Degree Does Technology Permit Core Business Activities to Happen?"

    In seeking the enhancement of end-to-end processes, boards want to know whether tech teams are acting as true business partners—rather than merely service providers.
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    "To What Degree Does Technology Permit Core Business Activities to Happen?"

    Among the metrics to evaluate IT's performance here: Percentage of automated business processes, cycle times and customer/business satisfaction scores.
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    "What Value Is the Business Getting from Its Most Important IT Projects?"

    According to research from McKinsey, the act of measuring a project's benefits reduces the risk of failure by 10%.
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    "What Value Is the Business Getting from Its Most Important IT Projects?"

    CIOs can provide insightful responses here through the implementation of a portfolio-management tool through which project managers input information such as project completion time, budget updates and tangible benefits generated.
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    "How Long Does It Take IT to Develop and Deploy New Features and Functionality?"

    The 'need for speed' prevails today: Amazon releases code about every 10 seconds, and can update 10,000 servers at a time while rolling back Website changes with a single system command.
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    "How Long Does It Take IT to Develop and Deploy New Features and Functionality?"

    To answer, come up with a metric that measures "business-consumable" functionality, i.e., that which IT can develop and deploy within four to eight weeks in a secure, repeatable way.
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    "How Efficient Is IT at Rolling Out Technologies and Achieving Desired Outcomes?"

    Infrastructure operations, app development/maintenance and security account for 90% of IT staffing and spend. So boards and their CIOs must constantly review execution-based metrics to ensure new products/upgrades are implemented swiftly while keeping costs low.
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    "How Efficient Is IT at Rolling Out Technologies and Achieving Desired Outcomes?"

    Among the revealing measurables: incident data, average defects per codes and cost of code per function point.
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    "What Next-Generation Skills and Talent Are Already Embedded in IT?"

    Talent management has emerged as a "top three" issue, according to a recent McKinsey survey of more than 700 CIOs and other C-suite executives.
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    "What Next-Generation Skills and Talent Are Already Embedded in IT?"

    As IT's presence as a business supporter/influencer continues to rise, try a "three-dimensional" approach in identifying talent-development progress: How often you're rotating staffers in and out of different roles within IT and business; the degree to which you hire outside people; and how effectively you develop in-house talent to fill critical but unfilled roles.
 

If you're like most CIOs, you're getting more face time with your corporate board than ever: Nearly three of five public company directors meet with their CIO at least twice annually, up from 48% in 2012, according to industry research. One-quarter meet with their CIO at every formal meeting, up from 18% in 2012. Among other IT issues, board members are interested in progress on analytics, social media, mobility and, of course, cyber-security. And they're also keenly focused upon how well CIOs and their tech teams are collaborating with business to accomplish strategic, ROI-boosting goals. To help you prepare for these meetings in advance, we've adapted the following list of five questions that CIOs should expect, as summarized in a recent McKinsey & Company report, titled "Five Questions Boards Should Ask about IT in a Digital World." No, your board isn't seeking to learn how to develop software or conduct threat analysis anytime soon. But it is interested in whether tech investment is directly translating to increased business cost efficiencies and functionality—at an implementation pace that matches today's rapid market environment. "The questions impose discipline on the relationship between the board and the CIO," according to the report. "They prompt directors and technology executives to have productive discussions about the function's strategic direction and the technology initiatives that matter most, to ensure that the overall management structure required to realize those projects is in place, and to monitor and discuss the results in a way that everyone understands."

 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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