Bob Evan of InformationWeek recently (June 15, 2010) published 10 reasons CIOs will get fired this year, a great input to your R2010 and FY11 IT strategy and planning. In this post I provide some ideas to help you succeed that mirror Bob's 10 reasons. #1 Attack the 80/20 by including 20% or more projects in your portfolio that directly and explicitly support business innovation, and by including one or more initiatives explicitly designed to lower the the effort required for day to day maintenance activities in IT (much headway can be had on this latter task simply by efforts such as clarifying organizational roles, interfaces, and handoffs). Then doggedly work to protect time is allocated to these projects despite distractions. In other words, schedule your priorities versus prioritizing your schedule #2 Embrace mobility Mobile devices have become the lifeblood of work and life for a lot of people in your organization, where they go to get things done, get information--you need to meet them where they are, not where they used to be. Practially speaking, this means carefully looking at each project in your portfolio and making sure there is some business-oriented mobile functionality included and highlighted to users--you don't want to look 1985 when it's 2011, and it's not just looks--mobile access and functionality are mainstream, so get with the program. #3 Lead the synchronization of IT operations and capabilities with business opportunities and customers This requires effort in two dimensions on your part 1) understanding business drivers, problems and opportunities and matching them to affordances IT can provide to support and enable them, and 2) understanding the affordances (take, for example, self-service portals for Service Desks) that IT can provide and translating the value of these capabilities to the business where they likely support key business drivers. In IT, to lead is to think in both directions and to translate and bridge between IT capabilityand business drivers. #4 Get your priorities straight (i.e., business priorities = IT priorities, period) Making business priorities your priorities isn't a cop-out--you still need to think through and translate these priorities into IT initiatives and objectives where a direct line can be drawn between the capability proposed or delivered by IT and the key business driver or process it supports. #5 Be able to articulate IT's contribution to business revenue and profits You are a sitting duck if you cannot do this. You are either a radiator (revenue contributor) or a drain (cost center)--if you want to survive you need to show yourself to be a radiator. Start by making sure each project in your upcoming year portfolio has a specific explicit tag indicating its contribution to business revenue. If one can't be located, or it's squidgy, drop or deprioritize the project. #6 To tell and ask how ITcan better contribute to business revenue and profits Put together lists of ideas--start with a bullet level list, 3-5 ideas at most for each area--for how IT can support the business in three areas: driving more sales, reducing costs, and increasing profits. Review your project portfolio against the lists, and adjust accordingly where practial and make sure the adjustment is clear in the project description and communication. Share your lists and what more could be done with the business, and ask them for their ideas; where practical, incorporate these into your portfolio as before. #7 Get out from behind your desk and systematically engage with customers Be the voice of the customer back to your organization. Bring customer perspectives back to you teams, and make sure your portfolio of projects has some social networking / web 2.0 stink on it. This doesn't have to be difficult--manyIT products now include such features--it's just a matter of starting to leverage them versus ignoring them. #8 Get clear on the cloud Internal or external cloud, and virtualization in all its forms--what is the opportunity there for your business? Is it real or hype--for us, specifically? Where should we go. For example, cloud-based Microsoft Exchange might not make sense for Corporate offices, but may make a whole lot of sense for regional sales offices. Similarly, virtualization could be a boon to your software testing operations, allowing for quick spin up of much more representative test environments, reducing errors in releases. Application virtualization could be a boon to legacy applications that rely on older versions of, e.g., Word macros to function. Translate! Separate the hype from what is helpful--specifically plan to clarify what the cloud means to your business and where to invest, and make sure something--even if it's just a proof of concept and a couple of tactical moves--is in your portfolio in this space this year. #9 Get with the finally-for-real real-time business program after years of being a technology futures discussion, the foundational components of what I call adaptive demand management--the capability of having insight into business processes, drivers, and demand--in ever more real-time terms (in other words, not just at a strategic or tactical level, but at an operational level) coupled with the capability to act on that knowledge and need--also in ever more real-time terms--is finally here. While there is a whole trajectory of technologies and linking to be done over the next decade which will exponentially increase the IT organization's ability to respond to business demand in real-time, you can start today--with business maps, service maps, monitoring and control technologies, and virtualization. Business Service Management is the conceptual framework for all of this--if you don't know what it is you need to learn about it, and then translate the concepts into action. As with prior advice in this post, the key is to find the subset of capabilities that contribute most to IT being able to adapt in more real-time to business demands, and incorporate these in your project portfolio. #10 Lead Transformation New technologies and concepts present opportunities to transform the business--virtualization, cloud computing, Business Service Management, web 2.0 and social media, innovation, mobile devices. Your job as a leader is to cut through the hype, translate the potential value to the business, and develop specific initiatives around them with clear mapping back to the business value they support. If this sounds a lot like good, basic, blood sweat and tears strategic planning, project portfolio management, and communication (including and especially listening)--it is! So get to it and good luck with your endeavors in R2010 and 2011.