Tom Hughes, currently with CSC but formerly the CIO of the US Social Security Administration, spoke to us about Lean and the CIO. The imperative here is driven by surveys that show that (to paraphrase) business thinks that IT is important, but that they’re doing a crappy job. He believes that CIOs need to break out of the technology pack and focus on business outcomes (e.g., market share) rather than outputs (e.g., number of workstations): exactly the same message as Connie Moore gave us in the opening keynote. CIOs needs to be valid members of the executive team, reporting to the board rather than the COO, HR, general counsel or any of a number of other non-effective reporting structures.
He believes that the CIO of the future must:
- Be a strategic thinker, not an IT techie
- Be at the table of chief executives
- Partner in agency or business transformation
- Have broad experience
The CIOs focus needs to be on four things: strategy, budget, architecture and security. Delivery and maintenance, on the other hand, are operational issues, and should be handled below the CIO level, even directly in the business units by promoting cross-functional ownership. The CIO needs to be forward-thinking and set strategy for new technologies such as cloud computing and unified communications, but doesn’t need to be responsible for delivering all of it: for things that the business can handle on their own, such as business process analysis, let the business take the lead, even if it means acquiring and deploying some form of technology on their own.
He concluded with the statements that the CIO needs to work with the CEO and develop a collaborative operational model, be at the table with other senior executives, and get other executives to take accountability for how technology impacts their business area. The CIO needs to be seen by the CEO as a partner in business transformation, not the guy fixing his Blackberry.
Questions from the audience included how to transition the current technology-focused IT teams to have more of a business focus: Hughes’s response is that some of them will never change, and won’t make the cut; others can benefit by being seconded to the business for a while.
On a side note, I like the format of the keynotes: Mike Gilpin pops up on stage at the end of each one, he and the speaker move to a couple of comfy chairs at center stage, and he asks some questions to continue the conversation. Questions from the audience are collected on cards and vetted by Forrester analysts, who then distill them into a few key questions to ask.
There’s still a bit of confusion over the Twitter hashtag: the website says #BTF09, then Gilpin announced in the opening address that it is #FBTF09, but then @forrester DM’ed me that it is actually #BTF09 and that Gilpin will correct this, although that hasn’t happened yet.