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How can IT better communicate it’s value to the rest of the organization?

Advice to IT on communicating their value to the business and Board

How can IT better communicate it’s value to the rest of the organization? While there will always be issues to address, IT won’t be considered partners and peers with the rest of the business if dialog is stuck on tactical issues or technical difficulties.

Instead, frame the discussion in terms of strategic business value. For an outstanding example, see Intel’s IT Annual Report. The image above is an example from it. The Table of Contents alone changes the conversation:

  • Transforming How Intel’s Businesses Run and Grow
  • Advancing Intel’s Products and Services
  • Increasing Workforce Productivity
  • Promoting an Innovative Workforce
  • Strengthening Intel’s Security Culture

All showcased with outstanding, easy to grasp, executive graphics that support company branding. Outstanding.

To elevate the conversation, consider the topics most IT organizations discuss with the board. According to a McKinsey survey (Elevating Technology on the Boardroom Agenda), current technology or IT related issues addressed by the Board include:

  • How IT enables broader business strategy
  • Forward looking views of technology’s impact on the company’s industry
  • IT strategy
  • Approval/review of very large IT projects
  • Security and risk related issues
  • IT talent, succession and mentoring

Gartner Group, in Working With the Board of Directors, has their own list of common board-CIO subjects:

  • M&A and divestitures
  • Major program milestone missed
  • Security or data privacy break
  • Financial approval for large IT initiatives
  • Update on IT enterprise performance and strategy

In recognition of the business value – and risk – of technology, more and more Boards have established technology committees. Their roles generally fall into five primary IT governance domains: strategic alignment, value delivery, resource management, risk management and performance measurement. An excellent survey and summary of Board level technology committees can be found in Figure 2 here.

These topics position IT as business savvy, focused and enabling. Board members and the business want to understand the business impact of technology at an executive level, and these topics can be a platform to do so.

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