IT’s Cross-functional Business Agenda
Increasingly, radiology-practice CIOs and their hospital counterparts are being called on to interact with leadership across the organization to help drive strategic initiatives. This new level of responsibility requires CIOs to be precise and prepared for conversations with their peers across all of the organization’s business functions. New research from the CIO Executive Board, Arlington, Va, intends to equip CIOs with the tools to shape business discussions with leadership across departments and functions by providing intelligence on how CIOs in a wide cross section of industries anticipate emerging business needs, where functional agendas overlap in an organization to create opportunities for collaboration, and what a CIO needs to know about peers to have a meaningful discussion. Researchers reviewed surveys from 35 research programs and more than 2,000 responses from top executives worldwide in identifying the IT implications of data capture and aggregation, shared service consolidation and automation, and cross-functional mediation. A preview version of the survey outlined the study in 10 findings.
  • Every business is diverse. IT must move beyond the homogenous view of the organization and attempt to anticipate and understand the goals of individual business functions and units.
  • Look for cross-cutting IT roles in information integration, shared service consolidation, and process mediation. There are three opportunities beyond technology implementation to drive business value: enabling data capture and integration, supporting shared service consolidation, and providing unbiased mediation of cross-functional business processes.
  • Grasp company challenges in areas that do not have a natural leader. Examples include managing growing business complexity and ensuring rapid consolidation of merger and acquisition activities.
  • Manage complexities created by product proliferation and market fragmentation. IT can help organizations to assess the IT cost of complexity, support a modular approach to shared services, and assist with architecture and processes for enterprise data visibility.
  • Manage complexities of supply. Outsourcing, alliances, and (to a lesser degree in health care) a global supplier base drive supply complexity, and IT can help by identifying weaknesses in outsourcer management processes, providing knowledge-sharing resources to alliance partners, and helping to model capacity.
  • Assess merger-and-acquisition risks and optimize integration. Merger-and-acquisition benefits can be undermined by inaccurate assessment of deals’ risks and benefits and poor integration of acquired entities. IT can assist by uncovering nontraditional risks and making sure that IT integration occurs on pace with business integration.
The report lists tools used in various initiatives, methods for generating a holistic view of the customer, and emerging sales-and-marketing values. First, support the sales-and-marketing agenda. Opportunities exist for IT to support segment insight generation, in addition to reconfiguring processes from the customer perspective, promoting sales collaboration, and building differentiation into automated service channels. Second, support the finance agenda. There is potential for IT to migrate decision support from a transaction to a strategic approach, to harmonize and mitigate IT risk, and to focus on cost efficiency in IT. Third, support the procurement agenda. A role exists for IT to support supplier collaboration and develop workflows and knowledge sharing to facilitate integration of procurement with product development. Fourth, support the supply-chain agenda. The role for IT is to develop accurate and comparable data to improve supply-chain decisions.