How To Overcome The Disconnect Between Business Leaders And Technologists

CIOs must become transformative leaders to help bridge the gap, says Joe McMorris, CIO and CISO at Planview.

The growth of large-scale digital initiatives has pushed CIOs to the frontline of the organization. But unless they can move from a technology-only view to transformation leaders, information chiefs won’t be successful leaders, says Joe McMorris, CIO and CISO at Planview in Austin, Texas.

McMorris spoke with StrategicCIO360 about the importance of collaboration with other leaders in the organization, the changing role of the CIO and what it means to be agile.

How do you define “connected work?”

Connected work encompasses the ability to connect ideas to impact by improving the time-to-value and efficiency of enterprise-wide digital transformation. If you want to future-proof your business in an evolving era of technology adoption, your only option is to operate through a transformative lens—developing new capabilities and processes that empower teams to streamline workflows, maximize productivity and unlock capacity unlike ever before.

Connected work is the portfolio management framework that makes this evolution possible, allowing organizations to elevate their digital transformation initiatives to new heights.

What role does the CIO play in leading large-scale digital initiatives?

The rise of large-scale digital initiatives across sectors has pushed the role of the CIO to the forefront. Now more than ever, an organization’s business resilience depends on whether CIOs can evolve from functional IT executives to transformative leaders who bridge the gap between enterprise technology adoption and scalable revenue growth.

It is their job to reimagine the role of digital adoption within their organization, reinvigorate the planning-to-delivery process, and develop a flexible architecture that allows the organization to be flexible in the face of market volatility. 

What is the importance of IT agility in delivering successful outcomes?

In a digitalized enterprise environment, the only certainty is change—and what determines sustained success is your ability to adapt to it. In turn, IT agility is a critical component to executing digital transformation at scale, as it empowers organizations with the foresight that is essential to navigating uncertainty and keeping pace with accelerating digital natives. Consider it an “adapt-or-be-left-behind” proposition that can make or break your bottom line. 

By synchronizing all the tools, processes and metrics associated with software development and delivery to generate end-to-end visibility that enables IT agility, organizations can optimize decision-making across portfolios, value streams and DevOps teams to link transformation capital allocation to impactful business outcomes. 

In your opinion, why is there a disconnect between business leaders and technologists? Where does the disconnect begin? 

While it’s no secret that most digital transformation journeys fail to deliver their expected return, the root cause is often rooted in that disconnect between business leaders and technologists. According to Planview’s Project to Product State of the Industry Report, business leaders believe IT teams can deliver 10 times more than their actual capacity. In turn, only 8 percent of agile team plans are delivered and 40 percent of team efforts are wasted due to bottlenecks.

That disconnect often stems from misalignment between how business leaders and technologists measure productivity. Agile/DevOps metrics, for example, are aimed to optimize how efficiently a software development team operates, but don’t necessarily account for whether their outputs are aligned with the organization’s strategic business goals.

And while such operational and activity metrics include pre-defined development deliverables, they don’t measure the impact of time spent on the front-end or back-end of the software development lifecycle.  

To alleviate the disconnect, technologists should be proactively optimizing their software development initiatives with a business-outcome mindset, offering fellow organizational leaders the insights and financial metrics they need to justify increased spending on digital initiatives. This is why it’s so imperative for CIOs to evolve from pure technologists to transformative leaders.

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