When properly applied, business intelligence and data analytics have the power to transform struggling companies and help industry leaders take their companies to unimaginable heights. But harnessing this power is not always easy, especially for organizations that lack a strong alignment between their CEO and IT. Below is a look at some of the key challenges facing CEOs and IT, along with the single best way to ensure that key players within your organization receive the right business intelligence quickly.
What are some common challenges facing today’s CEOs?
A CEO’s livelihood hinges on their ability to accelerate a company’s growth and prime their organization for industry excellence. They regularly face pressure from multiple stakeholders who sometimes have unrealistic expectations regarding the company’s ability to produce desired results. Here are some of the top demands facing today’s CEOs:
• Expectations to accelerate growth: Topping the list of challenges that CEOs face is the expectation to drive growth and achieve significant increases in profit margin annually. Failure to achieve these goals on a sustained basis often results in their replacement. The pressure is constant, and roughly half of CEOs are fired for their failure to attain expected results.
• Stakeholder demand for immediate information: Stakeholders are unapologetic in their demands for special reports and data — even if they do not know exactly how to properly apply the information in front of them. However, failure to produce this information upon demand can jeopardize the CEO’s job status. So CEOs often resort to bombarding IT with these requests at the last minute, which in turn causes stress for IT.
• A general lack of understanding of BI: According to an article by The Executive Connection, “Executive management, operations, and sales are the primary driving forces behind the adoption of business intelligence strategies. … Though it has been proven that the right analytic data can disrupt entire industries, many C-suite executives aren’t clear on how the data is able to do so.” At the heart of the challenges facing CEOs is a general lack of understanding of BI and data analytics. Rather than taking steps to understand these concepts and develop a systematic approach to a company’s data, CEOs are often so busy putting out fires that they are relegated to reinventing the wheel each quarter and relying upon IT to produce complex reports upon demand.
• Budgetary restrictions that limit BI expenditures: Despite the demand and need for BI, CFOs often allocate a minimal portion of their operating budget to improving BI and data analytics. As a result, progress is not made, and the cycle continues, with CEOs frantically demanding information and IT scrambling to produce patchwork solutions. Resolving this challenge often requires a willingness to learn the benefits of automated reporting and to adjust your spending priorities to include reports automation.
What steps can help CEOs improve communication with IT?
The path to alleviating the challenges above begins with communication between CEOs and IT. By openly discussing goals and barriers to success, IT can better understand what data is needed to propel a company to the next level of success. Here are some simple steps to help minimize stress for CEOs and IT:
1. Make open communication between departments a top priority
According to Jon Hansen, an entrepreneur and two-time finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, “Open communication within a small business or large enterprise may seem like a given; however, according to a Queens University of Charlotte study, while the desire to communicate exists, 39% of employees surveyed worldwide indicated that their organizations did not collaborate enough.”
Meetings within medium to large-size organizations are often segmented by department, minimizing opportunities for collaboration and discussion of reporting needs. By modeling and promoting communication between departments, C-suite executives enable organizations to better find solutions that will ultimately boost productivity and efficiency within operations and IT.
2. Educate the C-suite about the role of data analytics and BI
A lack of understanding of data analytics and BI is fairly common among CEOs and the C-suite in general. Fortunately, this is a problem that an organization can begin addressing today. Through customized training initiatives, your organization can learn how to use automated reports and special workflows to maximize efficiency and have key data at your fingertips.
3. Regularly emphasize collaboration between sales, operations and IT
As Patrichi Shah of the Stanford Social Innovation Review notes, “Talk about collaboration from the start. It’s far easier to set the course and stay on it than to redirect a ship after it has set sail. … Make that conversation part of all onboarding processes. Emphasize that each person — regardless of their role — is encouraged to discover and pursue synergies.”
The journey to a seamless relationship between CEOs and IT does not occur in a vacuum or end with a meeting and automated reporting. Successful collaboration requires an ongoing commitment to sharing goals and special project needs. From the second the onboarding process kicks off to the day a CEO or IT Director retires, the need for regular collaboration should be emphasized and embedded into your company culture.
The steps above can help bridge the gap between business operations and IT, but alignment between the two areas can also be achieved by automating business intelligence reports. This measure will boost efficiency for CEOs and IT directors while providing the vital information your business needs to gain an edge over your competitors. Ultimately, it is important to ensure that CEOs and IT directors have a keen understanding of each other’s needs and challenges.