Executing on your IT strategy needs to be a CIO priority in 2023. One way to make sure you can do this successfully – get back to the basics.
If the past three years have taught businesses anything, it’s that their goals are virtually impossible to meet without technology. IT leadership, and specifically an organization’s CIO, have been thrust into the spotlight as they embrace a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
While there are always table stakes or core priorities a CIO must address on an ongoing basis – such as security and compliance – focusing on the execution of your IT strategy will be critical in 2023. This is particularly true as uncertainty continues to mount with the economy.
IT Strategy is a CIO Priority in 2023
For the next couple of years, CIOs will need to communicate a strategy that effectively balances benefits, risks and spend. An IT strategy – which focuses on improving top and bottom lines – informs an organization not only on direction but how to get to the desired future state. A good IT strategy answers the basic questions: why, how and what, instead of creating tactics that don’t tie back into market share, revenue or expenses. IT leaders must clearly articulate where the organization is today and effectively manage barriers that will keep the company from reaching its strategic goals.
Establishing a well-understood technology strategy that provides the proper guidance and clarity will be key to your 2023 CIO strategy. This process will:
- Allow CIOs to move forward and not get caught in the technology decision-making swirl;
- Provide guidance that helps key decision makers take action;
- Enable workforce planning and development; and
- Help show the value of the organization’s investment in IT resources and spend.
Once you have your IT strategy in place, a key priority is following up by executing on that strategy.
Focus on Execution
As technology projects, budgets and staffing grew over the last few years, the focus was on speed to market to maximize opportunity. Now, as the economic pendulum shifts to cost control, CIOs will have to find ways to continue achieving the same results but with less margin for error.
Though it may sound trite, the best advice for CIOs is to get back to basics. How well teams execute on their IT strategy will be key, and starting with the basics will ensure greater success. Here are four steps to take:
- Evaluate core processes and goals: Consider each functional area and take the time to ensure IT teams focus on the core processes and goals. This step will vary by area. Even though goals and competencies are different for each team, a CIO must ensure the impact of the IT process and goals – with the right metrics – have the appropriate business impact.
- Sharpen skills: As you evaluate goals and metrics, you may uncover opportunities in one or more areas. Now is the time to sharpen the skills of the team, especially if you’re introducing new processes, technology, programming languages or software. Consider one example in which we helped upskill employees at a billion-dollar global architecture firm, which led to a new DevOps automation platform, testing frameworks, launching three new product lines, cloud-native development capabilities and a new UI design.
- Develop strong business cases: Focus on developing business cases with tangible benefits realization, as projects with softer benefits will be harder to approve. Remember, each project should have quantifiable and measurable results.
- Prioritize projects: Ensure teams are working on the highest priority projects for the business. This requires strong partnerships across the organization with the ability for the CIO to challenge priorities effectively. Like with business case development, prioritization can evolve throughout a project life cycle.
Strategize, Plan, Align, Execute
Execution is the final step in any action plan. Without it, your goals simply sit unaccomplished. As a CIO, not executing on IT strategy means the business will fail to achieve its goals, no matter how simple or complex. Focus on getting back to the basics to ensure you and your team are set up for success this year.