Gartner recently released the results of its “2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business”. As I read through it, I saw many links to the messages I have been communicating about driving the business value of software and that will be discussed in my new book “The Business Value of Software” being published by CRC Press in August 2017.
The Gartner research found that the top priorities for CEOs in 2017 are 1) growth, 2) technology-related business change and 3) product improvement and innovation. These three priorities are interconnected and are driven by the digital transformations occurring at many organizations. Therefore, it is essential that the CIO and their team be intimately involved in the strategic discussions related to these three areas.
Part of these strategic discussions needs to be measuring the success of the initiatives. This is a topic that I have discussed in-depth when talking about visualizing the value of software and Gartner emphasizes it in their report. In order to drive value of a software development initiative, for example, it is essential to clearly understand the goals and objectives of the initiative, and collaborate with the business unit to discuss, define, measure, and prioritize projects based on their ability to deliver on the value expectations. In the Gartner research, they found that 53 percent of the respondents could not provide a clear metric for success. It is not only critical that the C-suite have distinct metrics for a software development initiative, such as revenue, sales and profit goals, but that they communicate these goals to the entire technology team that are making the day-to-day tactical decisions that will impact the strategic direction of the project and ultimately the business value.
The report also highlights that 57 percent of organizations will be building up their in-house information technology and digital capabilities in 2017 versus 29 percent that will be outsourcing this function. Either way, the IT/digital team needs to be considered a partner in developing solutions that drive business value and not just a tactical arm that develops and implements the solutions.
CIOs need to step up. They should establish and lead the digital strategy for their organization, collaborating tightly with the appropriate business unit managers and then communicating the goals to the IT team in order to deliver on the expected business value. By defining metrics based on business value, the success of a project can be measured throughout the development lifecycle, stakeholders can be held accountable and projects can be modified throughout the process to realign it with its goals and objectives.
If you are interested in help with your value delivery metrics, feel free to contact me.
Michael D. Harris