Freshman CIO – Transformation in 365 Days

I have reached the end of my one year as a freshman CIO. Having been in IT, managing projects and IT departments for the past 12 years those 3 letters in my title carries the burden of either succeeding or failing miserably. In my case, the last year has been a success.

I was hired to guide my firm through strategic changes. Having the depth of knowledge of working in start-up environments and working through a few M&As, I was able to transform a weak department and set it on a path towards value. This was not easy. The department lacked confidence and direction. I came in with new ideas on how IT should be managed. My philosophy as a CIO is simple. “It’s all about people and processes. Technology is last.”

I had a Two-Phased Plan. I wanted IT to have transparency, accountability and accessibility, I restructured everything we do to align IT with those themes and to deliver a much more customer service-oriented solution.

Such an alignment calls for change, and you cannot make fundamental change without a strategic plan.

With a greater emphasis on IT management I initiated a portfolio-management process. Using my experience working in the financial sector where streamlined IT approaches are common I took each project and developed a cost/benefit analysis showing what the business will gain from these projects. This was a victory. For the first time, the business can see and measure tangible information that IT can and will deliver.

The second phase of the strategic plan was to build a road map for what IT will do over the next year.

Projects focused on strategic and operational initiatives. I had to rebuild my environment and the only way to move forward strategically was to have a stable and scalable operational environment.

In implementing this plan the pace of change was rapid. I set organizational processes, stopped doing some things, got better at others, and started new initiatives. At the end of the day I had to balance business needs with technology needs.