I had the pleasure of spending the last week on the road as part of the Smart Enterprise Exchange IT Executive Roundtable program we organize in major cities around the globe. Joining me in Muskoka, Ontario (also known as, Canada’s Cottage Country), Sacramento, Calif. and Phoenix, AZ was Peter Hinssen.
Peter, who is based in Europe, is a very-well respected CEO/CIO advisor (aka therapist – watch this clip!), self-admitted ‘uber geek,’ and author of a very insightful new book Business/IT Fusion. As Tech Marketers, it is critical we know our CIO/IT Executive customers needs, and, better yet, figure out and articulate how to use our solutions and marketing resources to help them get there. According to CIO execs, this often makes the difference between companies that continue to win business and those getting squeezed out.
Peter delivered clear, hard-hitting inspiration and a prescription for the core changes CIOs and IT departments need to institute to transform their organizations and their careers. So, here are the key points on Peter’s CIO check- list and some ideas on how can we capitalize as marketers? WARNING: these are old habits that are hard to break!
Business/IT Alignment is a fallacy: CIO should stop trying to do the impossible; it will never, ever work. Stop being a “butler” and an “implementer.” Become the business and lead the conversation on strategy.
Marketer Action: First off, if you use these words in your messaging, PULL IT! Make sure business outcomes and benefits are infused in every element of your communications and the solution itself whenever possible. Use real-world case studies – not PR success stories – on how your company is helping CIOs lead the business (not just implement technology).
Eliminate the IT ‘Department,’ at least, as we know it. Literally Fuse IT into the business. IT positions need to be distributed directly into business functions, divisions and teams.
Marketer Action: There is an abundance of educational technical materials out there – me too stuff. Are you providing appropriate educational business-focused materials that differentiate your company? If you don’t have in-house business expertise, partner for content/materials or syndicate wherever you can.
IT Consumerization is a BIG Opportunity: Because IT is everywhere, customers, employees and users expect the same experience in the office as at home. Don’t be the purveyor of old, boring stuff.
Marketer Action: Highlighting, amplifying and bringing the life the end user benefits, user intuitiveness and how even enterprise solutions directly benefit customers, employees and users.
Shift the Budget & Planning Model to a Portfolio Model: First, align each initiative into one of three buckets: 1) Stay-in-the Game, 2) Win the Game 3) Change the Game. And then, apply a cost+risk+value equation, investing budget and resources in those initiatives with the most direct business value. The traditional, cost=risk model puts a majority of resources on the biggest projects with the least value.
Marketer Action: Be clear on the value of your solution and aim your offering at the right type of IT executive. It is more than Ok to say that your solution “lowers the costs of infrastructure by xx% (stay in the game) as this is 50% - 75% of the budget. Just as importantly, if you have win the game or change the game solutions appeal to those CIOs and organizations that are looking for transformational solutions and partners.
How are you making strides in help your customers and best prospects?. Ideas and therapy welcome!