George Westerman thinks that IT leaders need to realize it’s time to change “from a caterpillar into a butterfly.”
Westerman isn’t referring to a change in wardrobe, but rather an evolution of IT leaders’ attitudes and actions.
“The market is moving so fast. Customer and employee expectations are changing so fast. If you do the incremental stuff, you’re going to be left behind,” says Westerman, a research scientist at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.
Westerman has spent much of the last decade pushing for IT managers to become senior partners in the business, to put behind them the “people of no” reputation that gets them shut out of innovation discussions.
“The first step is to stop talking like someone you wouldn’t want to talk to,” he says. “The next step is to start offering substantive solutions and delivering on those solutions.”
The best way to do that, he advises IT leaders, is to keep the conversation focused on value. That means doing “the right things at the right price at the right level of quality” and then moving into determining “how each project can deliver more value and more strategic power.”
Just a decade ago, the CIO was not generally regarded as a strategic leader, and there was a clear lack of IT and business alignment, finds the 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey by PwC. But the huge shift toward digital means that CEOs have embraced it as part of their mandate, the report finds, and technology is seen as a critical component to the business strategy as well as the business operations.
“I think increasingly the senior teams are tired of having technology people who are just technology people. They are really looking for technology people who understand where the business is going and help the business get there,” Westerman says.
That means that if a technology person wants to be involved in business (read more here)