Successful IT leaders communicate value in a particular way and in a particular order.

Based on research with numerous CIOs, it turns out that successful CIOs, as a group, do remarkably similar things when it comes to achieving and communicating IT value. This is true regardless of industry, company size, or the portion of the company's revenue that is represented by its IT budget. It is true of public and private sector enterprises. It is true in good times and bad. It is simply how creating and communicating IT value is done.

We call this approach The Path to IT Value. In broad outlines, the steps are:

  • Step 1: Change your thinking to avoid the value traps. The road to (IT) hell is paved with good intentions. Avoid the value traps: practices that seem to be good ones but actually prevent IT from delivering and communicating value.
  • Step 2: Show that IT provides value for money. As the "cheap information officer," you and your team demonstrate that the IT organization is providing the right services, at the right level of quality, at a competitive price.
  • Step 3: Show how IT improves business performance. As the "chief improvement officer," you and your team help everyone make the connection between investment in IT and improved business performance.
  • Step 4: Show how you have value beyond IT. As the "CIO-plus," you operate as a peer on the executive team, providing value beyond IT itself.

Successful CIOs don't skip steps, and they don't run them out of sequence. They don't try to demonstrate IT's potential power as a strategic weapon until they've shown that IT is beginning to deliver good value for money. They avoid value traps, and they steadily increase the executive team's perception of, and involvement in, the value delivered by IT.

To learn more about these steps, download and read Chapter One.