Geoff Nielson, Vice President of Product Development & Innovation at Info-Tech Research Group, discussed how CIOs can drive business satisfaction in his presentation to Argyle's CIO membership at the 2017 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in Toronto on September 27. In his presentation, "The Moneyball CIO – Learning the Science of IT Decision-Making," Nielson provided best practices to help CIOs predict the impact of key decisions before they happen.
According to Nielson, data plays a vital role in the way that CIOs operate. With the right data, CIOs can identify business opportunities and challenges and tailor their everyday efforts accordingly.
CIOs frequently are responsible for leading IT teams that ensure various business departments can collect data. Then, these departments can use assorted data to make informed decisions, leading to increased business revenues.
Conversely, CIOs often ignore data collection for their IT teams.
"As IT leaders, we're often responsible for providing data back to the business. But we don't always use data within our own lives to drive governance and management activities," Nielson stated.
The concept of "Moneyball" can have significant effects on IT teams of all sizes and across all industries, Nielson indicated.
Moneyball was pioneered by former Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane and involved the use of data to analyze baseball players and statistics.
"[The Oakland A's] had to compete against teams that had four times as much money than them, so they really had to think in terms of value," Nielson said. "They had to do more with less and figure out a way to make decisions that were smarter than those of the other teams."
Comparatively, CIOs can take a Moneyball-inspired approach to collect and assess data and realize its full value.
"As IT leaders, we're often responsible for providing data back to the business. But we don't always use data within our own lives to drive governance and management activities."
With a Moneyball-inspired approach, CIOs can analyze business satisfaction and ensure their IT teams can optimize their day-to-day productivity and efficiency.
"The core metric that IT should be looking at today is business satisfaction," Nielson noted. "The reason we think it's important to measure business satisfaction is ultimately that the satisfaction that the business has with IT … will determine whether an IT leader is successful or not."
To implement a Moneyball-inspired approach, CIOs first need to consider how they collect data. If CIOs deploy data collection systems that make it easy to retrieve information from a variety of sources, these IT professionals will be better equipped than ever before to gain actionable insights into how to improve their respective IT teams.
"Organizations are individually and programmatically collecting data about how they're performing so that they can improve how they're performing," Nielson indicated. "We have a lot of faith in data."
In addition, CIOs must consider a business' goals as they search for ways to collect and analyze data.
"Every year, business leaders are telling us that they are becoming more dependent on IT, and they're not becoming any more satisfied."
By working closely with a CEO and other C-suite executives, CIOs can determine which data to collect. Next, CIOs can perform deep data analysis and transform this information into actionable insights.
"If you're not rowing in the same direction as your boss, as an IT leader, nothing else will be successful," Nielson said. "If you think your job is to transform the company, and that's not the mandate that you're getting, then how can you possibly be successful?"
Moreover, it is essential for CIOs to perform "basic" IT activities properly, Nielson indicated. If CIOs struggle to complete day-to-day IT tasks, these professionals are unlikely to maximize the value of data.
"If you're struggling to do basic IT activities, then you need to improve before you try out new transformative digital strategies," Nielson noted.
How CIOs measure business satisfaction can have far-flung effects on their respective companies as well.
CIOs who allocate the necessary time and resources to understand business satisfaction can find ways to bolster their respective IT departments. On the other hand, CIOs who ignore the data available to them may find it difficult to contribute to a company's success.
"Across the board, satisfaction has not budged with people who aren't measuring it," Nielson indicated. "This tells me that something is wrong, because IT departments aren't getting better in the eyes of the business."
Expect the link between CIOs and business satisfaction to become stronger in the foreseeable future, Nielson said.
As businesses search for ways to differentiate themselves from rivals, CIOs could play pivotal roles in shaping the way that companies operate. Furthermore, CIOs will need to find innovative ways to foster business satisfaction, or they could put their respective companies in danger of falling behind rivals.
"Every year, business leaders are telling us that they are becoming more dependent on IT, and they're not becoming any more satisfied," Nielson pointed out. "This is an issue."
Geoff Nielson is the Vice President of Innovation & Strategy at Info-Tech Research Group. He has brought over a dozen software products to market, mandated to disrupt traditional IT and strategy consulting through the use of data-driven management software. Paid users of these products include FedEx, NASA, Toyota, and over 20,000 business leaders across more than 500 other organizations.
Since 2010, Geoff has advised dozens of C-level executives on data-driven strategies resulting in IT budget increases of up to $100 million dollars and increases in business leader satisfaction with IT by up to 30%.
Reporting into the Chairman & President, Geoff manages the entire product development lifecycle, including conception, design, build, customer feedback, launch, and marketing.
Prior to joining Info-Tech, Geoff worked for Wolverine Tube in a position reporting to the CFO. He was responsible for evaluating operational effectiveness and making process improvement recommendations to manage risk.
Geoff is the current record holder for Cash Cab (Canada), a trivia-based TV game show.
Geoff received his Honours Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.