The changing nature of the CIO role presents new opportunities for IT leaders. Instead of just managing the IT department, high-performing CIOs are stepping up into enterprise leadership positions. For the first time, they are expected to influence business strategy, rather than just being handed strategies for implementation.
While it is true that these CIOs may find success focusing on their own teams, doing so can limit innovation and constrain the sharing of ideas. The most effective CIOs, therefore, recognise the importance of working with other teams.
Those that collaborate are more likely to deliver optimal value and relevance in business outcomes. To help get you started, here are four teams every CIO and IT manager should get to know better.
1. IT team
As every CIO knows, a motivated and talented IT team is worth its weight in gold. Harnessing the full potential of internal technical resources is critical to performance, particularly in a business environment characterised by agility and innovation.
With many competing priorities, building strong professional relationships with direct reports ensures all team members are working towards the same goals. If team members are too busy to make these goals a priority, consider outsourcing time-consuming IT tasks such as server and network maintenance.
A proactive approach to employee engagement, collaboration and manageable workloads can lead to:
- Improved IT team performance
- Reduced turnover
- Increased productivity
2. Customer service team
Delivering outstanding customer service is almost impossible without IT support. According to Gartner, half of all customer experience projects involve technology, with IT playing a vital role in execution and maintenance.
High-quality customer experiences and lightning-fast resolution times, therefore, depend on access to the right technologies. These might include:
- Integrated customer service systems that provide real-time access to customer information
- Repeatable workflows that speed up resolution times
- Cost-effective enterprise business telephony solutions to streamline customer service processes
With this in mind, it is worth meeting regularly with customer service representatives. Ask questions including:
- What are your biggest process-related headaches?
- Which customer queries take the longest to resolve? Why?
- What opportunities do you see for IT to help you do your job better?
The answers to these questions can help to pinpoint process shortcomings. They can also identify opportunities for IT to improve customer service capabilities.
3. Marketing team
With varied backgrounds and priorities, marketing and IT teams usually have different ideas on how to leverage technology to achieve corporate goals.
CIOs, for example, may consider marketing’s demand for the latest technologies unrealistic. Meanwhile, marketing executives may feel frustrated when IT prioritises technology investments that benefit the greatest number of users over the long-term – which usually excludes marketing software.
These attitudes need to change. As cloud, digital and mobile technologies become more widespread, marketing now relies on IT to extend its capabilities with technology.
This means that marketing teams need IT support to deliver the digital experiences that customers expect. Similarly, IT must tap into the marketing team’s expertise in customer engagement to develop more effective IT solutions.
By joining forces, CIOs and marketers are better equipped to:
- Understand their customers
- Identify the most appropriate technology solutions
- Implement technology in a way that improves the customer experience
4. Finance team
In most organisations, the finance team works with the CIO to expense future IT expenditure and infrastructure costs.
By working with the finance team to reduce costs through managed services or using more efficient, cost-saving communications products, CIOs can reduce operating expenses and redirect spending to where it is needed most.
At the end of the day, fostering a culture of communication requires a willingness to look beyond your own team to find answers.
Organisational change won’t happen overnight, but it will have long-term impact when supported by collaboration-focused CIOs and IT managers.
What do you do to support collaboration across teams? Share your thoughts in the comments below.