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CIO Corner: Tips from a Turnaround CIO

As a CIO, I have been through 32 mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions and have thrown away countless other opportunities - I believe 68 of them. The following are tips from my years of experience:

1. KISS - Keep it Simple and Succinct. Yes I know the final "S" is usually something else. Stick to the basics and make sure your decisions are aligned with the business objectives.

2. Listen. Listen to the business. Listen to your peers and other members of the executive team. Listen to your staff. If new to the organization, send out a survey in the first week and understand the good, the bad, and the ugly. Perception is reality.

3. Communicate. Let everyone know realistically the costs, the timelines, and the expectations. Communicate often, openly, and in the language of the customer.

4. Stay close to and know your key employees. Identify them early. Nurture them. Grow them. Praise and celebrate the wins, no matter how small.

5. Inventory. Know what technology is in place and how it aligns to your key set of applications. Understand what monitoring systems are in place. Review the knowledge base of the help desk to see where there are the opportunities. I know this sounds simple with today's technology, but many organizations still do not do the basics.

6. Renegotiate licensing and maintenance terms with your vendors.

7. Get your applications under control. Understand what guidelines are already in place, adapt and communicate your standards and manage to that expectation.

8. Institute a sound governance model. Ensure that the demand funnel matches the capacity of the organization and is communicated in a standard format. Utilize strong project management principles.

9. Continually assess and evaluate. Don't sit still. Make appropriate changes along the way. Every challenge is different. But if you start with the standard guidance. You can easily adapt, so that you can Plan the Plan and Work the Plan.

Dan Webber is a CIO in Atlanta, GA.  He delivers his unique perspective as Chief Dan WebberInformation Officer on technology, business, and the Atlanta IT industry. He is a recent recipient of Oracle's CIO of the quarter award.


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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.