Insufficient IT Knowledge at C Level

Strategic Impact of IT
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joko triyono
Director, Indonesia

Insufficient IT Knowledge at C Level

Lack of knowledge of the CEO (and the rest of the board) about the role of IT for their business is a big issue (not easy). Mis-plotting the situation in the McFarlan Grid will lead to severe problems in the future.


John Henry
Project Manager, United States

Why There is Insufficient IT Knowledge at the C-level

Many C level personnel, are all only concerned with the organization, the goals, the products, the customers. Just as logistics is relegated to lower level staff, so is IT. The management of IT is left to a lower than C level. Many IT departments are supervised by the other cost center in the company, Finance. The Head of IT then reports to the CFO. He is often not of a C level, rather more like a director, somewhere lost in upper middle management.
The questions that are critical to this situation involve the strategic nature of the C level and the actual expectations of the C level for IT. Often IT is more like maintenance, forgotten unless something is not working properly, or dirty... Then, it is not a requirement that they explain themselves, just that it gets cleaned up.

How does IT knowledge make it to the strategy level of the organization? Visionary leadership, looking farther ahead, might see others passing us by, because the competition has found a new IT thing that makes a difference. Unfortunately, that means new toys for management, and maybe sales, but no real change in the thought process.
But this is a 2-way street: IT has to be forward thinking, and it has to find a way to the table, with substance, with a vision matching the C level. IT has to propose solutions, IT has to know the business process and products so well that they are able to become catalysts for improvement. Only once they have left the realm of maintenance, will they be expected to do more than keep on the lights.
How? It depends. Because to get a seat at the table, IT has to earn the right to speak, or IT will always be the guy that turns on the projector, and stands in the corner, silently until something needs cleaned up, or fixed.
Agile, Lean, AI, don't make any difference, unless, first, the value is exceeding cost, is provided consistently and is properly identified as Strategic IT.

Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

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