CIOs should be key members of any business C-team, but is yours doing what you expect them too? During the run up to 2016 itSMF UK event we asked a number of the presenters a question: What would be your number one piece of advice for a CIO? This blog shares the responses to the question from:

Many of these people also wrote a pre-event blog about their itSMF sessions which are linked to above.

What would be your number one piece of advice for a CIO?

Interestingly, the responses were varied, probably more varied than you would expect.

Roy: Stop believing that there are any “silver bullets” or that saying you’re adopting a particular framework or methodology is going to “fix everything.” Everything won’t ever be fixed; concentrate on what must be fixed (and don’t let the first dominate, or you won’t have time for the second). Realize that new efforts require new skills, new goals, and new resources. Remember that the reasons IT exists are to serve people and produce business results.

Barry: Understand what good looks like from a rounded capability perspective. In other words, a picture of the IT capability to deliver on objectives. Crucially, view that capability holistically particularly when prioritizing investment. Your ability to reach your goals is a combination of the people, governance, technology, and the relationships your organization requires to execute its business model or fulfil its mission. Make sure your IT department doesn’t concentrate on developing any single aspect of their capability in isolation at the expense of others.

James: With the combination of digital transformation and the increasing cadence of change, the onus is on the CIO to radically change the structure of the IT department to eliminate the silos and focus on customer engagement.

Mike: Don’t try to build a dozen Death Stars.  Start small, iterate, and build on validated learning with as many of your projects as possible.

Kevin: Get your development, operations, infrastructure, networks, and IT service management (ITSM) communities truly working together; mutually understanding what’s good from their respective disciplines; and jointly designing and running a new operating model that focuses on the efficient delivery of working solutions to the customer by teams who are fully accountable.

Ivor: Remember what CIO is an acronym for, there’s no mention of technology. Look towards the technology and what it can offer, but view it from a business perspective. Realize you are a player in multiple teams – the IT department and the senior management team at least. It might be a hard balancing act, but then look how much they pay you, so they think you can do it.

Stephen: Get their people focused on customer experience (CX) both inside and outside the company. Customers and employees will demand better CX from the CIO and their team, plus their services, and to avoid it will be the road to irrelevancy.

Tony: Make sure your focus is directed to the value that IT will bring to the business (quantifiable) expressed in terms that the business understands (and definitely not in IT jargon).

Stuart: Get your IT team to study the nine guiding principles of ITIL practitioner, and use them to guide their decisions. If you “Focus on value,” “Design for experience,” “Start where you are,” “Work holistically,” “Progress iteratively,” “Observe directly,” “Be transparent,” “Collaborate,” and “Keep it simple” then you will deliver IT services that really do meet the needs of your customers.

Chris: Align with the company’s vision and their top objectives and deliver this in a way that is innovative, lasting, and sustainable. In Deloitte’s annual CIO report it highlights the mistake far too many CIOs make in that they acknowledge that innovation is a key priority but then assign only a fraction of their budget to delivering it!

Mark: Think in terms of co-creation of value together with business partners and reposition the IT-function from order-taker to co-worker within the various lines of business.

So what do you think of these points? What do you agree and disagree with? What would you add? I’d love to know, so please leave me a comment below.