Top 10 Questions CEOs Should Ask CIOs

It should be obvious by now that companies adapting well to technology disruption are industry leaders. Evolving corporate structures to elevate the IT function is increasingly a best business practice. While some companies are thriving to the tune of record profits and increasing efficiencies, others are failing in their efforts to digitally transform. Global consulting firm McKinsey tells us that these differences are quantifiable. They offer 10 important questions to guide CEOs in their efforts to hold IT teams accountable for digital transformation. This article shares these best practices.

Reshaping Digital Transformation by Asking the Right Questions

Business leadership is tasked today with evolving the IT function into more of a collaborative and strategic role. McKinsey suggests that the modern IT function should seek increased alignment between business and IT by carefully targeting technology investments and creating a user-centric model for technology architecture. This requires a shift in thinking from older models that often left CIOs out of the room when the larger business strategies were discussed. As IT joins business leadership, CEOs should lead these new collaborations by asking key questions to help align IT within the big-picture framework of business strategy. Those questions include:

  1. How are key technology decisions made?
  2. How do we track the value of our IT investments?
  3. What tools are in place to measure the impact of technology on the end-user?
  4. What internal IT resources are available and what value do they add to the company?
  5. Has IT ever shut down a project because it failed to add value to the organization?
  6. What is the average go-to-market time for internal and external tech applications?
  7. What IT applications are provided by third-party vendors and what value does this bring?
  8. Are we leveraging artificial intelligence to make business decisions?
  9. How much custom development work does our IT team provide for building new tech solutions?
  10. Does cybersecurity hinder our technology and developer teams?

These 10 questions can help bridge gaps between IT priorities and the rest of the business, a problem that is far too common. The goal is to understand how the business can best leverage technology while also informing IT business leadership of the mission-critical thinking that could hamper digital priorities. In effect, these 10 questions can serve as the starting place to align IT with business, an effort that is the critical first step toward digital transformation.

IT must fully join the ranks of business leadership to fully transform the organization.

The typical wish list for technology is often much higher than even enterprise budgets. Aligning IT with the bigger business infrastructure can help prioritize this wish list while making better use of internal resources and the core business. Understanding where the organization currently places value on the current technology infrastructure is an important exercise for anyone on the leadership team. It will help finance better allocate resources while the C-suite can restructure business strategies. All of these efforts to better align require the support and understanding of your technology teams. It is only by working together that organizations can fully transform.

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