By Role

Board & Business Leaders

Technology is now integral to every organisation’s Business Strategy, mandating that Boards understand IT Strategy and be well informed about developments in technology and trends to make the right decisions for their companies. This information comes from their internal IT functions led by CIOs as well as external advisories. To survive and thrive, the Board and CIO need to jointly set agenda, priorities, investments and pace of the IT function and monitor progress in real-time, performing interventions and course-correct when environment and conditions change.

"In a survey of corporate directors, more than half said their boards had at most one technology-related discussion a year. Almost half of the survey respondents indicated that this level of attention was insufficient." McKinsey

But there’s the problem of time: most boards have about six to eight meetings a year and are often hard pressed to get beyond compliance-related topics to secure the breathing space needed for developing strategy.

"The typical company’s senior executives spend less than three hours a month working together as a team, and usually less than three hours discussing strategic issues." Bain

Xirocco gives CEOs, Boards, and business leaders the opportunity to be in the driver’s seat, jointly with the CIO, in control of IT’s mission, priorities, execution and costs through robust understanding of how technology is advancing, and hindering, the business.

  • Spend more time on Business-linked IT Strategy : Technology has become too embedded in the fabric of business – and too critical for performance – to be wholly delegated to IT. Collaborate online from anywhere to continuously manage the business aspects of IT Strategy, not just for forty-five minutes in quarterly meetings.
  • Look further: If an organisation’s strategy can be executed as part of its current operations, then that strategy probably is not sufficiently ambitious or far-reaching enough to be an adequate response to digital change. Create and track a long-range Strategy with Xirocco.
  • Join up Business and IT: Ensure IT is always working on the business’ top priorities through deep insights that align Business Strategy and IT Strategy. Join-up not just on projects but across a multitude of other dimensions through Xirocco’s visually rich, Board-ready, interactive, and drillable dashboards that auto-update when underlying data evolves.
  • Make better and joint IT investment decisions: Get better understanding of business-technology gaps and the investments that would be required to close those gaps. Xirocco shows the direct impact on the business of funding, deferring, and rejecting IT spend requests, leading to more well-informed and defendable capital allocation.

CIO & IT Leadership

CIOs walk a tight line today – helping their businesses find new markets and operational capabilities through technology trends such as big data, cloud computing, mobility, and social media while maintaining an aging, unsecure IT estate that is in perpetual need of modernisation. Add to this mix a Board that doesn’t fully comprehend IT and suddenly the challenge gets a lot harder.

"In 2005, barely 38 per cent of CIOs sat on their executive committee; today that figure has risen to 62 per cent. IT leaders are also increasingly working at board level." Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey

"32% CIOs are expected to help drive corporate revenue growth." Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey

CIOs need a credible IT Strategy that not only impresses and influences their Board but is also relevant and readily available when they need it. Xirocco transforms the relationship between the Board, business leaders and the CIO.

  • Get the Board and business leaders engaged in IT: Too many boards just review and approve IT Strategy without adequate due diligence. Xirocco empowers CIOs to cocreate a credible Business-linked IT Strategy with the business, that influences the Board and gets everyone actively involved in setting direction & priorities for IT.
  • More complete, effective IT Strategy: Create and publish a more complete IT Strategy based on industry standards that aligns the Business Units, drives out waste, defends costs and secures vital investments.
  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of the IT function: Use Xirocco’s fast IT Diagnostic tool to establish the starting position, since a weak starting position can hamper long term strategy success. Communicate IT position and maturity to the Board using powerful Board-orientated dashboards.
  • Leverage CIO Advisories in a radically new way: Stop CIO advisories sending PDFs and instead directly inject their research and viewpoints into the Business and IT Strategies. Help CIO Advisories transform from point-in-time support services to a “Strategy-as-a-Service” partners.
  • Enable Continuous Strategy: Generate and publish a relevant, business-linked IT Strategy on demand, from anywhere, at the click of a button and publish securely it through Xirocco’s Narratives feature. Click here to learn more about Continuous Strategy.

Head of IT Strategy

Businesses are becoming increasingly digital and it’s not just a matter of building endless bespoke applications and implementing cumbersome ERP systems. As technology becomes intrinsic to how businesses plan and operate, business leaders are increasingly demanding clarity on the role of technology in the future of the business and its current priorities vis-a-vis the business aspirations. IT Strategy is no longer a business-driven wish-list, it is instead the singular mechanism to join and align the business and technology functions to achieve harmonious convergence of purpose, intentions, and priorities where one drives the other.

However, creating and managing an enterprise IT Strategy today requires a realm of knowledge beyond lists of technologies and architectural diagrams. It needs a holistic view and grasp of ALL the components that make a credible IT Strategy that stands up to Board scrutiny. Boards have set ways of analysing information presented to them, and a poorly scripted IT Strategy can quickly incur disillusionment and distrust.

Xirocco is modern, lite, and intuitive software that empowers Heads of IT Strategy or anyone accountable for IT Strategy to quickly and effectively create an industry standard, Business-linked IT Strategy that is aimed at the Board.

  • Create IT Strategy 10x faster: Create, link, communicate and maintain IT Strategies 10x faster, even more in some cases. With an embedded best-practice framework, step-by-step guides, automation, templates, and illustrative content, you never start from scratch!
  • Start with available data: Start creating IT Strategy with the data you know and have, enrich in iterations when more data becomes available. Deal with data ripples, not waves.
  • Cocreate IT Strategy with the Business: Collaborate in real-time to co-create your IT Strategy, across departments, geographies, and suppliers, so everyone is working on a single source of truth.
  • Do better than PowerPoint: Xirocco’s rich visual outputs and interactive dashboards are Board-ready, so there is no need for PowerPoint. Import favourite slides into Xirocco and make them part of a Narrative. Click here to learn more about how Xirocco is better for IT Strategy than MS Office.

IT Business Partner

In organisations where the IT function is still viewed as an “order taker”, IT must move beyond providing commodity services and share ownership of business strategy by elevating its role to a business partner.

"88% of CIOs believe the business has yet to fully benefit from their digital strategy. Less than one in five business are ’very effective’ in using digital technology to advance business strategy." Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey

An IT Business Partner often acts as a liaison between IT and the business, establishing stronger engagement and communication between the functions but primarily bringing the transformative capabilities of technology to business operations to unlock new commercial opportunities.

Xirocco helps IT Business Partners demonstrate how IT enables the business.

  • Demonstrate how IT enables the business: Xirocco’s radical and innovative “Layer Cake” feature links IT assets and resources to business functions and operations. Navigate multiple dimensions and drill into deeper levels of detail to show how IT powers the business.
  • Communicate IT risk: Communicate IT health and risk meaningfully to Board through cause-and-effect linkages to business aspirations and outcomes.
  • Enable better IT Investment decisions: Use Xirocco’s IT Investment Table to demonstrate the direct impact on the business of funding, deferring, and rejecting IT spend requests, leading to more well-informed and defendable capital allocation.
  • Enable business agility: Monitor benefits realisation as desired future state is reached and perform real-time intervention to course-correct as necessary. Xirocco helps IT Business Partners see immediate effect of changing course and helps revector resources.

Enterprise Architect

Strategy, not technology, is the future state of EA - Gartner

Few IT Strategy stories can be told without inclusion of some detail about mission critical applications and IT infrastructure, especially those of interest to Management Boards due to their link to the four R’s - Revenue, Reputation, Regulation and Right to play. Detailed applications and infrastructure architecture are among the core strengths of Enterprise Architecture and in that respect, Xirocco has a minor overlap with EA tools.

While EA tools offer in-depth design, planning and business-as-usual management and maintenance of technology solutions, Xirocco focuses more on creation, presentation and continuous management of a comprehensive, articulate and interconnected IT Strategy that goes beyond technology and includes all aspects of strategy, tailored to how Management Boards and executive business leaders digest such information.

Xirocco natively offers a set of foundational EA features for organisations with moderate architectural needs that have not made investments in specialised EA tools. With Xirocco, architects can:

  • Visualise EA for the Board: Create rich, visual diagrams of Enterprise Technology Framework, Target Architecture, Business Capability Framework, Application Landscapes etc. (not those boring "shapes in a grid" with arrows). Link elements across diagrams to create visual drill-throughs to illustrate how business objectives rely on technology assets and resources.
  • Communicate IT risk: Perform assessments of IT asset health and auto-generate heatmaps. Link IT asset health to business outcomes to communicate risk.
  • Manage IT data: Upload and maintain repositories of IT assets – Applications and IT Infrastructure.
  • Integrate foresight: Capture and monitor technology trends, link them to IT Strategy for tracking and response. Click here to learn more about Xirocco’s Futures feature.
  • Create Technology Strategy: Create a Business-linked Technology Strategy that proactively answers the “Top 5” Board questions.

Click here to learn more about how Xirocco is different from EA tools.

PMO & Portfolio Manager

Project Managers drive initiatives forward by applying knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities toward realisation of Board and/or Sponsor approved business outcomes. A significant part of IT Strategy revolves around the progress in realisation of already approved digital business outcomes which then guides / informs the next iteration of forward-looking strategic intentions. Few CIOs succeed in articulating a technology vision and future against a backdrop of underperforming portfolios of projects.

While PPM tools help Project Managers with effective, centralised definition, scheduling, management, and execution monitoring of programmes and projects, Xirocco focuses on richly communicating the overall performance, status, health etc. of portfolios of projects from an IT Strategy viewpoint, using purpose-built dashboards designed to help Management Boards and executive business leaders assimilate this information easily and make critical investment or go/no-go decisions.

Xirocco natively offers a set of foundational PPM features for organisations with moderate Project Management needs that have not have or made investments in specialised PPM tools. With Xirocco, Project and Portfolio Managers can:

  • Communicate portfolio visually: Operate Xirocco’s functionally deep, visually rich, and interactive IT Investment Roadmap and Portfolio Dashboard.
  • Align Business and IT: Link portfolios of projects to strategic business objectives, demonstrate progress and overall realisation of strategic business objectives.
  • Achieve 360-degree portfolio view: Link projects to other aspects of an IT Strategy beyond strategic business objectives, to achieve a 360-degree view.
  • Manage project data: Bulk upload and maintain a rich set of project data. Federate data ownership and individually update each project, directly in application or via Excel template. Note: Xirocco currently does not have WBS and Gantt capability, as this is not usually a level of detail required for IT Strategy.

Strategy Realisation Office

"Developing an enterprise-level competency for strategy execution, such as a strategy realization office (SRO) can provide significant competitive advantage." Gartner

Strategy formulation needs to happen across multiple dimensions – intentions, initiatives, applications, infrastructure, suppliers, talent, and money. Each of these dimensions currently has its own distinct toolsets aimed at practitioners, which makes these tools deep in functionality, complex to configure and laborious to execute as they struggle to handle an ever-increasing ocean of use cases. This reality makes them less amenable to produce the type of insights and views that Management Boards expect to help make important strategic decisions. The result? Information from these disparate tools is manually extracted and recreated in Excel, Word, and PowerPoint to achieve the finesse expected in the Boardroom.

Xirocco is Board-orientated by default. It enables and empowers SROs across all key areas of strategy formulation and realisation with out-of-the-box Board-friendly visuals that make “a day in the life of an SRO” significantly more efficient and productive. Xirocco powers SROs with:

  • Less PowerPoint machinations: Reduce manual, laborious Excel, PowerPoint, and Word machinations through Xirocco’s self-updating, purpose-built, Board orientated dashboards including the highly innovative One Page Strategy.
  • Reduce repeat efforts: Spend 75% less effort on updating IT Strategy, as strategy becomes business-as-usual and part of the DNA of the organisation.
  • Escape the data tsunami: Liberate the SRO from today’s painful reality of data gathering, collation, formatting, and massaging. Once data is in Xirocco, deal with data ripples, not waves.
  • Stop sending out decks: Communicate IT Strategy to anyone, anywhere using custom narratives, each containing only the information specific to the recipient (e.g. send only the IT Investment Table to the CFO). And since these narratives auto-update when underlying data evolves, no need to send decks repeatedly with new version numbers.

Click here to learn more about how Xirocco helps the SRO.

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