According to Gartner, almost half of enterprise CIOs are focusing more of their IT resources on improving the customer experience through digital leadership. It’s imperative that these CIOs partner with with business counterparts to develop a unified vision and strategy as they transform the IT organization and workforce capabilities.
To accomplish this, IT executives have to rely on skills that aren’t taught in graduate programs and may not come naturally to everyone.
On Tuesday, October 27, Larry Bonafante, CIO at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and founder of CIO Bench Coach, will join Intuit QuickBase for a webinar to discuss the new expectations of the CIO and practical steps to drive alignment between IT and the business. The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis and the recognized leader in promoting and developing the sport’s growth on every level in the United States. CIO Bench Coach offers executive coaching that helps IT executives and their teams develop critical skills in human dynamics.
Larry has been recognized with numerous industry accolades, including a nomination to the CIO Hall of Fame. He was named one of CIO Magazine’s CIO 100 and one of Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders. At the USTA, Larry led a corporate culture change initiative which broke down silos and established a more collaborative & innovative enterprise. He also implemented a Cloud Computing strategy which lowered operational costs by 60 percent and capital investments by 20 percent all while improving availability and enhancing USTA business continuity capabilities.
Just after another successful U.S. Open this summer, I spoke with Larry on the topic of proactively aligning business and IT. He spoke to the importance of communicating with the business in terms everyone can understand.
“We speak business language, not Geek Speak! We created a senior position called Client Relationship Manager that lives, eats, and drinks with their clients in the business and act as the proxy in identifying and advocating technology needs for the business. We also provide a monthly report that explains in business terms the value of the technology investments the organization is making to drive our mission,” says Bonafante.
When it comes to roadblocks, Bonafante says IT executives need to develop credibility and relationships before people will invest time and energy into your approach. “You need to turn around the naysayers,” he adds.
Working with the business is something Bonafante knows intimately from his experience with the U.S. Open and with popular grassroots programs.
“It [the U.S. Open] generates 90 percent of our annual revenue. We also work closely with our mission based clients in Community Tennis to create digital products for our members and players,” he says.
When I asked Larry how the CIO and IT organization skill set and capability need to change in the new digital age, he suggested breaking down the divide between people, process, and technology.
“We need to be relationship managers, project managers and process managers, not just managers of technology and systems,” he says.
How can the CIO help the enterprise balance innovation and the need for industrialization and resiliency?
“Since technology is the key underpinning of most innovation, no one is more critical to this process than the CIO. He or she needs to collaborate with their business peers to ensure that technology is leveraged that creates the best consumer experience.”
What information and technologies need to be addressed to support digital? “Big Data, Analytics, System Integration, Ubiquitous services/infrastructure.”
Join Larry Bonfante for an enlightening Webinar discussion in “CIO Perspectives: How to Make IT the Fabric of Your Business,” on Tuesday, October 27 at 1:00 PM ET.
Posted in Business & IT Alignment, Citizen Development, Democratization of IT | Tagged Business IT Alignment, CIO, USTA, webinar