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Questions of Context

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 11-01-2010 Print

What type of change is happening? CIOs must begin by planning ahead for the contingency that a strategic change effort is or will be under way, according to Garnter. Likely causes of a strategic change might include the creation of new ventures, dealing with innovation and change, managing mergers and acquisitions and addressing new competitive pressures.

CIO Action: Write down the top three most likely major changes ahead in your business and industry and lay out all the different areas of the IT organization and of the business that would be affected and require IT action in order to succeed. Take the list and prioritize it according to the impact it could have on the business.

Who is driving the change? The preferred sponsors of a major change would be the CEO and, alternatively, an executive who is on the top management team, including the COO and the CFO. If the change is restricted to a particular business unit, the top manager in that unit is the preferred sponsor.

CIO Action: Identify the top-level sponsor for the strategic change. If you don't report to the top-level sponsor and have difficulty gaining access, concentrate on the circle of trusted advisers around the sponsor. Use the connection with this group to develop a line of communication that will be helpful in times of stress during a strategic change.

What is the deadline for the change? In most cases of strategic change, there is a "window" for execution for the achievement of the goal. This can be impacted by a number of factors including public pronouncements of the CEO to investors, board of director expectations set by the CEO, letters and announcements made to shareholders, information gained from competitive intelligence, as well as public competitor announcements and analytical conclusions drawn by financial analysts covering the company.


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