IT Must Provide a Strategic Edge

Establishing a clear direction and focus: Value is an abstract concept, but CIOs must have a clear direction. Large and complex enterprises require a sophisticated portfolio of initiatives and processes to support the value creation engine.

IT leadership must make sure that all of these tasks are anchored in a well thought out program that is aligned with corporate strategy and focused for a seamless execution.

Understanding how value is created: With a good understanding of how value is created and with a clear direction, the next step is having a clear view of the contribution of each IT initiatives.

At any given moment the IT portfolio includes a combination of long-term transformational initiatives and an array of shorter-term business continuity maintenance projects. It is important for IT leadership to assign each initiative to one of the two different classes: transformational or maintenance.

Transformational are the key initiatives in the portfolio. They involve innovation and efficiency. The most senior management in the organization participate in the definition, launch and life cycle management of these projects.

Maintenance initiatives protect current investment and capabilities, and typically are aimed at keeping the enterprise running. They range from infrastructure upgrade to selective outsourcing of IT components to tactical level efficiency improvements.

Ultimately, it is the way in which organizations apply and use technology that derives the competitive advantage.

Lionel Carrasco is CTO of Neoris, a global IT consultancy, systems integrator, custom application developer and leader in emergent technologies. Carrasco has more than 20 years experience in IT consulting in the banking, insurance, transportation, retail, manufacturing and oil industries.

Director Miguel Galván Espinosa also contributed to this article.