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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Click here to learn more about how Xirocco is different from EA tools.
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:
"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:
Click here to learn more about how Xirocco helps the SRO.