Enterprise software implementations are among the most expensive, visible and risky projects you will undertake as a CIO. They are also among the most strategically important and, as such, can help propel the CIO to the role of true strategic adviser to the C-Suite.
One of the most prevalent career conversations that takes place among peer CIOs is how they can make sure they are treated as a truly strategic business partner. While there are many examples of CIOs who have done this successfully – Chris Laping at Red Robin and Felippo Passerini at Proctor & Gamble – there are still companies for whom the technology function is seen as a cost center, despite the strategic disposition of the person leading it.
I have seen many big software implementations like ERP, CRM, Manufacturing, and Purchasing projects, propel technology leaders to be seen as strategic partners. The best CIOs can use these projects to demonstrate how they can help drive business strategy, not just keep IT operating costs low.
Here are a few ways to strengthen your strategic brand during each phase of a the project:
There are, of course, many more ways to use big enterprise software projects to develop the strategic part of your brand. It's also worth keeping in mind that unless the project is successful from an IT standpoint as well, it is unlikely you'll be able to convincingly sell the strategic successes so delivery discipline is still important. That said, a marginal IT improvement with a major strategic win will be preferred over a complete IT win and a middling strategic improvement.
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