The latest High Performers in IT report from Accenture has found that CIOs who are considered high performers have different priorities to followers.
The top priority for high-performing CIOs is providing the right information to the right person at the right time.
Their second highest priority, according to the Accenture research, is finding better ways to interact with customers.
Their third priority is delivering new services or products to customers.
The Accenture study found that CIOs in lower-performing organisations said their top priority was cutting business operational costs. Second was increasing workforce productivity, while they ranked automating business processes as their third business objective.
“Innovation is not about having the latest technology, but about the relationship between business and IT and taking IT to the business to create value,” said Daniel Benton, global lead for IT strategy and transformation at Accenture.
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IT agility, he said, is key to enabling CIOs to deliver this: “In the digital space, innovation and execution are even more important to help CIOs to be in a position to drive a digital agenda.”
Benton said organisations that can have a conversation around creating short-term value out of digital technology are in a good position to innovate. “It is about the convergence of business and IT strategy,” he said.
Rather than the business working out what it wants to do and IT delivering the technology to support the business strategy, Benton said IT and the business must be prepared to experiment with an iterative approach to projects and fail quickly.
“Iterative [processes] are not for everything. Big projects do take two to three years to run. But high performers are good at resource planning and take a long-term view," he said.
In his experience, those organisations that carried on investing in IT during the 2008/9 financial crash are in a far stronger position to innovate now, especially as the economy picks up.
“High performers seem to be getting to cloud computing quicker. Low performers need to re-architect their core IT and start to drive agility in the business," said Benton.