Authored by Kerry Raminiak

In Part 1, we discussed why best-in-class IT organizations are embracing the shift towards engaging and enabling the business, and why new technology trends are driving this behavior. We also took a look at what some interesting companies are doing along these lines, like Greyhound and McCoy’s Building Supply. In this part, let’s discuss logistics.

Go from managing Information Technology to leading Business Technology

To start, the CIO must lead the charge for change and set new baselines. As nearly all new solutions should be in the cloud, mobile and highly contextualized; CIOs should push their teams to exploit unstructured data and run data-led experiments.

Second, the focus needs to flip from the easily measured – like cost – to the most valued – such as innovation – which will give teams the liberty they need to effectively restructure how they work.

Once these ground rules are in place, we’ve found five keys to moving IT into a business technology leadership position:

  1. Be a partner: when the LOB requests a solution, don’t assume they know what problem they’re trying to solve. Help them find the right answer to the right problem.
  2. View this shift as an opportunity, and help the LOB identify solutions that will generate ROI.
  3. See around corners when it comes to systems architecture. Don’t build in challenges that prevent you from making business-focused updates in the future.
  4. Collaborate with the business early and often on product and service delivery.
  5. Use Shadow IT to learn the LOB’s priorities and build your new roadmap.

(You can read more about these keys, along with practical steps for achieving them, in the report  Five Keys to Delivering Business Technology Impact.)


IT that focuses on the business, that leverages its expertise to help the business make smart decisions about technology, gains:

  • credibility in the eyes of management;
  • an empowered ability to take a seat at the leadership table;
  • a position of guidance on decisions affecting the longer-term strategy of the company; and
  • an improved enterprise IT infrastructure.

The functional outcome: these are the IT organizations that expect to gain resources and tend to see their funding go up, not flatline or decline. Their people are rewarded with work that has a higher ratio of innovation-to-maintenance work; and resource managers recognize less burnout and more skilled effort over time.

Next steps

Change isn’t easy. But it’s critical for IT organizations that don’t want to look up a year from now and realize they’ve waited too long.

Jump start your organization’s shift by asking: Do you have a plan for defining and pursuing your new vision? A vision without a plan is a car without an engine. You need both, and everybody’s got to be along for the ride. Secondly, are your application partners with aligned with your vision and your plan? Partners (like Headspring) can bring fresh eyes and new concepts, but only if they’re comfortable with innovation and seeing the big picture.  

Get more information

  • Access our brief, Five Keys to Delivering Business Technology Impact. This practical guide for enterprise CIOs and their teams outlines what differentiates best in class IT organizations from followers and how you can make the shift.
  • If you missed Part 1 of this blog, click here for a quick discussion of the “why” behind the IT buzzwords.

Talk back: Is your organization walking the walk?

If your IT group is already best-in-class at the leading the business technology charge, or is actively working towards it, share your knowledge! How did you make the shift? Tell us about it in the Comments.

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