“A game of two halves”

Is normally an analogy synonymous with football. Manager’s are seen as the master tacticians, responsible for the team’s blueprint for success. How will they engineer a cup run or win the league? They recruit what they hope to be the best talent in the world to achieve the goal. We see them stand up in front of the fans and media, outlining the plan before the season. Then we see them justifying the decisions made when things go wrong and lap up the plaudits when the team wins.

These characteristics got me thinking about the role of the CIO. How they are seen as the tacticians, laying down the strategy bringing IT (“the players”) and the business (“the fans”) together to deliver on a dream (We’re going to win the league!!).

If your CIO can marshal the team to believe in the goals of the company, using technology and working with other teams, then goals can be achieved. If the product appeals to customers, and is delivered on budget (which increases profits) then the CIO will be held in high esteem. They will then be rewarded with a new contract to build on the strategy. However, if the CIO overspends and doesn’t build a cohesive team, deliveries will suffer:

Football: lose an FA Cup 3rd round match to a non-league side

Perhaps teams work in isolation:

Football: Midfielders not  tracking back

Perhaps the business are not happy with how their requirements are being met:

Football: The fans are unhappy and start shouting “Manager Out!”

If these scenarios start to happen more frequently then there will be increasing pressure on the CIO to deliver; else face the consequences; similar to our football manager. Ultimately, the board may feel it is time for a change as the company falls further behind the competition and the CIO leaves “by mutual consent”.

So, as organisations strive for market share; will we see more ‘poaching’ of talent? Will companies pay compensation to their competitors to bring in ‘proven skills’ at the CIO level? As we see more previously well established; high street names going into administration the need to transform and improve the proposition is now a fundamental requirement of business strategy. Just because your strategy has worked in previous years, doesn’t mean your organisation is ‘safe’ from the fundamental tenants of business relating to cost, revenue and profit.

The concept of the “Super CIO” could have different leagues, you may find your “Pep Guardiola’s” being poached from the highest performing companies to bring others up to challenge the market leaders. There may also be a layer of organisations, that are not playing in the top half of the league, but want to maintain or rise up the table. Will these type of organisations be looking for the business equivalent of a “Sam Allardyce” to come in, steady the ship and then begin to change the model to grow the company to compete higher up the table?

The use of technology can only take the companies so far; unless the CIO creates a cohesive delivery team across IT and business, goals will not be achieved, and questions will be asked. Without the strategy and vision in place; with the tools to unite teams, the CIO may have the best ideas; but the returns cannot be achieved until the ‘sum of all parts’ is realised.




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