Technology provides opportunities to deliver dramatically better business results and competitive advantage. The question for leaders: What's required for IT to consistently deliver extraordinary results? The answer is simple, although not necessarily obvious.
To understand it, consider other professions. Can you imagine your CPA saying that she knows how to fill out tax forms and produce financial statements, but doesn't know anything about business? Preposterous? Is it any more so than a CEO saying, "IT - I leave that to the techies!"?
Whether it's under-prioritizing IT, making poor choices based on lack of understanding or downplaying the importance of social media, leaders who aren't tech savvy generate a predictable wake - under-performance.
The unfortunate consequences slip by unnoticed as they manifest themselves slowly. While more IT aware organizations move ahead, those whose leaders are behind the curve experience a slow erosion of customer satisfaction, employee morale and investor confidence.
So what precisely is required for IT to consistently deliver significant business results? An organization that, top to bottom, values IT smarts. Leaders in particular have to face reality and educate themselves accordingly. IT people take note; you need to have an equal interest in business education.
Occasionally, someone will object: "But I'm not really into computers". Neither am I! What's attractive about technology has nothing to do with an interest in technical minutiae, but rather in improved business results. Technology is a means to any number of business ends: better and more personalized customer service, increased operational efficiency, a reduction in tedious, boring work ... the list is endless.
So how much of an effect can increasing your organization's IT competency have? In an informative Harvard Business Review blog post, Smarten Up, and Feel the IT Love , Susan Cramm, President of Valuedance presents the results of a survey she recently conducted.