IT Savvy – What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain

IT Savvy – What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain and What Top IT Professionals Need to Know About the C-suite

Greetings and Happy Holiday’s Web Professionals!

Today’s podcast is an extended interview with Dr. Jeanne W. Ross, Director and Principle Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management Center for Information Systems Research and author of a recently published book entitled, “IT Savvy” what Top Executives Must know to Go from Pain to Gain.

I reached out to interview Dr. Ross in response to and interview with Cia Romano CEO, Interface Guru last week regarding her take on the state of the Web and frustration with the lack of education of those providing and contracting for Web services.

If you ever wanted to better understand the mindset of the folks in the C-suite regarding the topic of Information Technology, (IT) you owe it to yourself to listen to this thirty minute podcast on today’s Web Professional Minute.

Dr. Ross’s research centers on the organizational and performance implications of enterprise initiatives related to enterprise architecture, governance and new IT management practices. At MIT she lectures, conducts research and teaches public and customized executive courses on IT management.

I’ll have a full transcript of this podcast shortly. In the meantime, here is what I asked Dr, Ross to respond to.

* What prompted you to write IT Savvy?

* What is the role of IT from the perspective of the C-suite?

* How does the Internet fit in to that role and that definition?

* How can companies strive to convert IT from a strategic liability to a strategic asset?

* A lot has been said about the potential divide among and executives and IT and you refers to this in your writings. For example in your book you recommend that executives become IT Savvy. Does that mean that executives are solely responsible or should IT professionals become more business savvy?

* What effect if any did the tech bubble bust have on the reluctance of some companies to invest in IT?

* Many in this industry talk about a talent and a skills gap? What are your thoughts?

* Is outsourcing contributing the reluctance on the part of some executives to embrace becoming IT savvy?

* Is their a role that education can play in improving the synergy between IT and the executives?

* What role should business and industry play to encourage parents and youth to see the opportunities IT as a profession? Second part of that question what role if any should business and industry play in promoting the benefits of IT both from employment productivity point of view.

* What kind of foundational knowledge should future IT and business professional’s posses and what will they need to succeed.
* In the book you talk about the importance of IT empowerment. Can you expand on the benefits of this?

* In the book you talk about empowering the digital culture? Can you summarize that and can you provide with a summary benefit statement on Why IT Now?

One thought on “IT Savvy – What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain

  1. Sean Fitzpatrick

    Thank you Bill and Dr. Ross for elevating a discussion and issues we’ve been addressing with our clients across the board (large corporations, publishers, non-profits, associations) for years. We see the same situation over and over: Motivated, tech-savvy middle managers understand technological best practices and seek out these resources, but are stymied by the lack of knowledge and interest by decision makers.

    The importance of an IT IQ for top executives is just the tip of the iceberg. There is an epidemic among our nation’s top institutions (corporate, government, non-profit) of lumping Web and digital/social media strategy into the “IT” category, and pushing control and important business strategy decisions into the IT department, where vendors and Web developers unschooled in the value of best practices (such as Information Architecture and strategic, user-centric interactive design) hijack the process.

    Don’t get me wrong: An effective and informed IT department – as well as tech-savvy executive management to support it – are essential to support every organization’s digital/social media initiatives. In fact, business savvy IT managers are well-qualified to lead internal discussions and initiatives to improve efficiencies and systems within the organization.

    But, for outward-facing initiatives such as the Web and social media, it’s important not to allow the cart to lead the horse. These efforts are not about the technology – they are about establishing a dialogue with the user.

    A common criticism of the Internet and social media in every industry is that new technologies have not yielded viable, profitable business strategies. One need look no further than this education gap to understand why this is so.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.