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Are you a broker of value? Ask these 4 questions

Chad Quinn | Aug. 21, 2015
CIOs have become brokers of IT capabilities for the business. Here are four questions IT leaders must ask to convey value more effectively.

partner and adapt

As CIOs confront internal organizational changes as a result of disruptive technologies, roles and responsibilities are rapidly evolving. As "CIOs to become in-house brokers – and that's a good thing" states, CIOs are no longer builders of operational services – they are brokers of IT capabilities for the business. Now, IT leaders are expected to be more than service brokers, to the extent that their predominant role is to define, track and measure the value of connections between the business and IT. 

When the CIO is able to provide a clear answer to the question of value, she or he fills a strategic gap in the C-suite. Yes, the CIO is a business enabler with technology. Yes, the CIO brokers IT services and connects them to the business. But that's not the whole picture. Now, the critical question for the CIO is how and why the implementation of specific technologies and services provide true value to the organization.

A senior partner of recruiting for executive-level IT leaders spoke about the concept of the IT leader as a broker of value at the 2015 CIO Executive Leadership Summit. (His response to the "CIO as a Value Broker" presentation is at the end of this video.) [Disclosure: The video includes footage from my keynote at the CIO Summit.] He said, "This decade, very clearly coming out of the great recession in '09-'10, has been about creating value...whatever you can do to create value, which means driving revenue [and] driving profitability."

For technology to serve as a business enabler, IT must not only coordinate various vendors and technology capabilities – but also clearly identify the value that these capabilities provide and measure their success post-implementation.

Conveying the value of IT investments is a responsibility that many CIOs I’ve talked to are eager to address. The challenge lies in the tactical implementation of conveying that value. It requires new processes, leadership, and an organizational-wide commitment to shifting the investment conversation from that of cost and features and capabilities, to that of value and implementation outcomes. For many organizations, this is a new frontier. To begin, here are a few questions for the CIO to ask in order to identify growth opportunities:

1. How can I maintain focus inside and outside of my organization?

In order to broker valuable services for the business, the CIO needs to truly understand the business problems that need to be solved inside of the organization. Once the business problems are defined and clearly determined, then the CIO can focus outside the organization, to orchestrate the best ecosystem of services, partners and technology to solve the business problems.


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