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Does your IT project matter to your business executives?


daniel_dorr.JPGBy Daniel Dorr


(Daniel Dorr leads HP's CIO Agenda workshop program. He is responsible for conducting workshops to help CIO clients prioritize key business initiatives, the technology to address those problems and the financial impact of doing so. To participate in HP’s CIO Agenda workshop, contact your account general manager.)


In CIO Magazine’s recent “State of the CIO” survey, they found that only 26 percent of CIOs say they spend significant time on “driving business innovation.” But 53 percent want to spend more time on that activity in the future. However, these CIOs are unaware of one thing: they may be driving business value today, and not even know it.


CFOs and business leaders are interested in business-specific applications and tend to think they are the only way to drive business value. But even more “basic” IT projects like application rationalization and modernization, cloud, security and information management can drive significant business value—if you know how to make the connection.


I recently had a meeting with a CIO and CISO from a hydraulics manufacturer. We realized they could accelerate business growth into China if they could:


  • Optimize infrastructure
  • Ensure protection of the company’s intellectual property 

In this case, security and infrastructure improvements can help the company accelerate $250M in new market revenue by getting into China faster. Yes, even boring IT topics like network infrastructure and security can drive real, measurable business value.


CIOs and CEOs view the organization’s priorities differently

The key to connecting your IT projects to business value is to start by understanding what’s really important to the business in the first place. What is the CEO saying are the company’s priorities? Our global survey of CEO priorities indicates most CEOs are now squarely focused on growth. So if you’re still trying to sell the greatness of IT because you can shave 10 percent off your budget, you may be singing the wrong tune.


Okay, maybe security can be sexy enough to warrant business attention. But reducing and rationalizing applications can only be a cost-based discussion, right? Wrong. Rationalizing and streamlining applications can have tremendous business value, if you know where to look. You might trim a few percentage points off your IT budget by reducing apps, but the real value may be hidden in the business users.


Finding the hidden business value in IT projects

We recently worked with a steel company that wanted to rationalize their applications. We interviewed line of business leaders and we learned that sales and customer service spent 25 percent of their time just hunting for the information they needed across all the different applications. 


Imagine, what would happen to revenue if you suddenly added 25 percent more sales people? And that’s exactly what they’d be doing if they rationalized and centralized their application environment. What’s the value? Ask your sales leader for average salesperson productivity and add 25 percent on top of it.  That’ll give you a ballpark estimate of the business value you might add to the company.


At HP’s Discover conference in Frankfurt, Germany, on Dec.5 we’ll dig into this topic in even more detail. I am presenting “Does your IT project matter to your executives” and we’ll review what CEOs are focused on globally. I will provide a number of examples of how your peers are successfully connecting their IT projects to business priorities and value—even some of the boring IT projects.  I hope you can come and hear what we can do for you.


Register for HP Discover Frankfurt.


For more insights on the future of IT and how you can optimize IT performance to drive business results, subscribe to the Discover Performance ezine.


Related links:

Blog post: What you can learn from the way revenue leaders handle enterprise security

Blog post: 4 things revenue leaders do differently when it comes to managing information



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