Shared services test maturity of CIO role: report

Mature CIO functions enable intelligent customer behaviours

A new report from research firm, Ovum, aims to provide a model for assessing the maturity of CIO functions in the context of an increasing move towards shared services strategies.

As large enterprises increasingly move towards shared services as a model for delivering common applications and infrastructure services, Ovum research director, Steve Hodgkinson, said the trend is shining a spotlight on the maturity of CIO functions.

Shared services strategies often start out focusing on the creation of the shared services entity and the transition of services and resources from divisions and business units into a shared services centre, while “little thought is given to the changes required in the enterprise’s CIO functions”, Hodgkinson said.

“Divisional and business unit CIO functions play a critical, and often under-valued, role in prioritising and marshalling service demands,” he said.

The report, titled Is your CIO function mature enough?, can be used to assess the maturity of CIO functions, including the remit given to the CIO by the business, the range of strategic planning, strategic control and services provision activities performed and the degree of enterprise-wide influence that the CIO has.

“It provides a basis for dialogue around the CIO role and its adequacy to support enterprise-wide ICT strategies such as consolidation, rationalisation and standardisation of shared ICT applications and infrastructure services,” according to Ovum.

The research also indicates immature CIO functions lead to “uncoordinated and fragmented” demands being placed on the shared service provider.

The “many-to-one” dynamic can lead to unsatisfied customers and undermines the sustainability of the shared services model.

Mature CIO functions enable “intelligent customer” behaviours and have the influence needed to better align business demands with the shared services provider’s capabilities and to promote a strategic, enterprise-wide, perspective in decision making around shared services.

“Any shared services strategy should explicitly include consideration of the impact of shared services on CIO functions, and visa versa,” according to Ovum.

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