Process and BehaviorBy Ron Ashkenas | Posted 2009-12-08 Print
There are four areas in which CIOs can reduce complexity: inefficient organizational designs; product and service proliferation; unmanaged process evolution; and ineffective but unintentional managerial behaviors.
3. Unmanaged process evolution:
• Have you identified the core processes for IT—the processes that need to run smoothly and efficiently for the enterprise to be successful?
• Do you have metrics and a simple dashboard that transparently tell managers and staff how the various processes are performing?
• Do you have streamlined, effective governance processes in place for IT—including security, risk management, budgeting, capital allocation and talent assessment?
4. Unintentional managerial behaviors:
• To what extent have you clearly conveyed the strategic vision and goals for IT to your people? How well can your people articulate the contribution that technology makes to your company’s strategic goals?
• How much time do managers in IT spend in meetings? Are they well-planned and well-run with clear goals and outcomes?
• To what extent has the “presentation culture” obfuscated issues and slowed decision making? Have you created ways to reduce the size and complexity of presentations?
CIOs and the senior executive team can accept complexity as an inevitable consequence of life in today’s global, technology-driven company. But like weeds in a garden, unchecked complexity will eventually choke an organization, make it difficult to get things done, drive up costs and constrain growth. As an alternative, CIOs can make complexity reduction an ongoing part of their strategy in a way that not only reduces costs, but also helps the rest of the enterprise thrive. 3
Ron Ashkenas is a managing partner at Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, a Stamford, Conn., management consulting firm, and the author of the book Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done (Harvard Business Press).
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