Gartner has published a list of six time-wasting practices that chief information officers should avoid in order to focus on key priorities and maximise their value to the business.
And it is not just junior staff who waste time in the office, according to the analyst firm.
John Mahoney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, warned that changing established behaviour is hard and often requires considerable work.
"CIOs need 'space to change' and the best way to provide this space is to stop focusing on what no longer provides value," he said.
Gartner's 'hit list' of advice to CIOs:
Stop being the budget-priority police
Ensure that your IT organisation minimises boundary disputes when business units use technology, particularly if business units have control over discretionary spending.
Stop using enterprise architecture as a command and control
Rigid standards and policies might make it easier to reduce risk in system changes, but this approach reinforces the traditional view that the IT organisation does not understand how the enterprise needs to respond quickly to business or market changes.
Stop communicating using IT metrics and focus on business
The focus should be on a manageable number of IT value indicators that are meaningful to business leaders. They should be linked to familiar business measures, such as business goals, business strategies or business processes, and should show the current status and progress to date.
Stop the proliferation of applications, infrastructure and IT
There is often a common, underlying cause of ill-disciplined enterprise decision making. The critical action to fix these problems is to create and repeatedly exploit a strategic portfolio of applications and infrastructure capabilities, with associated rationalisation of IT governance. This means using enterprise architecture and related mechanisms to ensure coherence.
Stop defining services in technical rather than business
The key recommendation is to simplify the number of services offered, bundle them into a logical group and describe services so they reflect user-based activities or processes. For example 'adding new employees', which might include a suite of services, including PC, telecoms and mobile device support, or 'Work space design and installation'.
Stop wasting time apologising for past problems
Credibility requires building strong personal relationships. It means being politically smart, integrating IT objectives with enterprise objectives and anticipating business needs to deploy a predictable stream of technology that enables business solutions. Repeated apologies diminish that.
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