Musings on Value Creation and Communication for the CIO & other IT Professionals

I recently had the occasion to hear George Westerman speak on this issue and his book (see below) recently at a Boston SIM meeting. I must admit that the subject matter, something familiar to Chief Information Officers (CIOs) or other seasoned IT professionals, did not exactly get my pulse racing.

However, as I am always open to get a fresh perspective, I was rewarded with a warm and polished speaker who clearly related this information. George’s unique contribution in my view, both in his presentation and even more so in the book, is to focus on the communication aspect of value.

Specifically on identifying how IT is affecting the overall business; both in positive and negative ways. One of the key points is to lead such conversations away from technical talk and towards business objectives; thereby having something that is clearly related to the organization. The book is filled with practical examples to help drive this point home. From budget requests to project updates, this philosophy should permeate everything done by IT. Most importantly, as a continuous process, not just as points in time.

When George first discussed the communication of value, I concurred and felt I had already become a master of that art. As we moved deeper into the subject, George presented more examples of what does and does not work. From that, I developed a new appreciation of how to become more effective in this area.

After the presentation, I took a copy of his book home and read it that evening. At about 200 pages, it a quick read. I intend to keep the book as an excellent reference aid and a development tool for others.

A good read for all, if nothing else, a refresher for even the most experienced, offering fresh ideas on how to approach this critical issue.

Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value by
Richard Hunter & George Westerman
Harvard Business Press (October 20, 2009)
ISBN: 1422147614

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