Are we fast enough?
Those in the C-Suite know the monthly drill – the executive team meets to discuss the level of effectiveness in achieving each department’s objectives (those wonderful KPI’s). Certain departments have the luxury of using common metrics we are all familiar with such as; customer retention, funnel conversion rates, marketing qualified leads (MQLs), return on investments (ROIs), lifetime value: customer acquisition cost (LTV: CAC), among many others.
But, for the Chief Information Officer, it is much more opaque. How does the CIO quantify “digital transformation?” How can CIOs make digital transformation tangible? Speed, latency, and outage reports don’t tell the full story and for the non-tech in the C-Suite, speed and uptime are basic expectations.
Visionary CIOs recognize the changing environment and therefore aim to measure progress in a different manner. Instead of focusing on the siloed branches within the company, i.e. network, security, IT, etc. they pivot toward analyzing results which impact performance across the entire organization.
Today’s the leaders of digital transformation are asking four core questions.
How fast can we deploy new cloud applications?
The challenge with so many incredible SaaS tools in the world today is combating the belief that the secret to success lies in the applications themselves. “If we only had this tool, we would be amazing.” Unfortunately, the CIO often stands as the gatekeeper for this success as end users live with the expectation that SaaS applications are plug and play.
For CIOs to manage expectations, they need to shift the conversation, and perception, from one of inhibitor to that of enabler. Measuring the speed in which new SaaS applications are being deployed becomes a clear storyline emphasizing the company’s need for speed and agility. The narrative then changes to providing business leaders what they need, when they need it. With the proper tools in hand, the focus shifts away from the technology back toward the process and leadership implementing them.
How long does it take to deploy usable Development, QA, or Production environments?
While software like AWS or Google Cloud have made the creation of new environments simple in theory, the interworking of the company’s centralized security environment or legacy network architecture can make them unusable. How many times has an environment been marked as ‘operational’ on a deployment checklist only to find that the engineering team is unable to access it?
Actively measuring the length of time it takes to deploy a truly usable environment highlights how quickly a company can transform their innovative ideas into tangible products and services.
How long does it take us to integrate new acquisitions?
“Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) is on a multi-year run of unprecedented activity and currently shows no signs of slowing,” says Marc Cooper, CEO PJ Solomon.
While deals look great on paper, it often falls on the CIO to transform the “synergies” envisioned on spreadsheets into tangible, market value. In a market that is primed for future merger and acquisition opportunity, measuring how fast the company can integrate new acquisitions provides not only operational but also strategic guidance for the business.
So, are we fast enough?
In this digital transformation age, the innovative CIO will never truly find the organization to be ‘fast enough.’ However, they can shape the future by asking questions like, “How fast can we switch vendors?” or “How fast can we diagnose and react to threats against our network?” This sets the conditions for the change that needs to take place. Measuring and analyzing the answers first and then embarking on a journey to continuously improve those results is what will really transform the company.
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