The Alignment of IT and Leadership

Michael Chill, HBM’s VP of Information Technology, will be posting a blog on a periodic basis to highlight the enterprise-wide initiatives the firm is currently undertaking.

The Changing Role of Technology

A recent McKinsey & Company article, IT’s Future Value Proposition, discussed the future role of IT, and its ability to play a greater role within an organization as business and IT become more aligned.  Change brings challenges, and IT must work even closer with its functional peers to demonstrate technology’s ability to create a competitive edge through technical innovation.

Critical day-to-day IT tasks such as infrastructure, data support and cybersecurity monitoring, for example, can be effectively handled by third parties.  Outsourcing traditional IT services enable organizations to be more flexible and focus on bigger, strategic projects.  HBM’s philosophy is that processes and solutions that differentiate our businesses in the markets they compete will remain internally driven and receive greater investment and strategic focus.

It is Time For A New Alignment Between Tech And Leadership

The way businesses operate is quickly evolving as technology becomes more integrated into commercial and product development processes.  IT has earned a seat at the leadership table through automation & streamlining of the back office. Tech strategies today have a greater impact on operations, customers, employees, and marketing than ever before.

At HBM, there has been a clear alignment of IT and leadership.  Our leadership team comprises the CEO, finance, legal, human resources, and technology. As VP of Information Technology, I contribute to HBM’s vision and offer strategic insights into how leveraging IT will set us apart from our competition.  More importantly, I am plugged into the demands and priorities of our businesses and can provide insight into related technical challenges and opportunities over a diverse set of markets.

Our goal is to replicate this structure at each of our portfolio companies, where talent exists, ensuring IT leaders have clear visibility into executive priorities.  In the absence of this structure, hurdles arise specifically around prioritization.

How To Optimize The New Alignment

As we begin to implement this structure at each of our portfolio companies, we apply a simple prioritization model to ensure IT is supporting business strategy at all levels.

The model is structured in four pragmatic steps:

Step One:       IT gathers the business needs from individual department heads (injecting our own thoughts into the process) and summarizes them in a use-case type format;

Step Two:       IT sits down with the CEOs and leadership teams to organize needs, set priorities, and align with a business goal;

Step Three:    IT estimates the budget and tailors specific project plans to accomplish the prioritized goals, ensuring projects achieve the intended target value; and

Step Four:      IT aligns personal team member annual objectives with the prioritized goals.

By structuring IT prioritization setting in this fashion, we are ticking off three major boxes in tandem: business, fiduciary, and individual alignment.  IT will be focused and have greater visibility into the larger organization, and vice versa. 

The role of technology within companies is rapidly changing.  Forward-thinking organizations plan to embrace the change by aligning IT with the business needs.  HBM views technology as a strategic asset for resolving operational inefficiencies, creating greater value for the customers, and building a more nimble organization.

 

Michael’s contact information is as follows:

Michael Chill

Vice President of Information Technology

T: 314.376.2545

E:  machill@hbmholdings.com

LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/company/hbmholdings

Twitter:   @HBMHoldings