A key task during IT Due Diligence is assessing the strength of the IT leadership team. Martha Heller, in her recent article in CIO, defines the SVP of Technology and Operations as a cool new role and career path for CIOs.
We’re always a bit relieved when we see this role on the org chart as we begin an IT Due Diligence investigation, but of course we do a bit of probing to determine if the wearer of the title truly has what it takes to lead the organization through the 12-18 months of rapid business change that should follow any M&A deal.
Several clues to the real quality of the SVP of Tech and Ops leadership can be found by:
- Asking for and reviewing the business case or strategy document for any recent significant technology initiative. Big red flag if they can’t produce one at all.
- Determining if the overall architecture is documented, and under change control from all required perspectives: software, hardware, information, and business process perspectives. The SVP loses points if the documentation doesn’t exist or doesn’t account for planned future implementations of business and technology changes.
- Snooping around for departmental application or information silos. This usually takes some field work, as the IT leadership’s architecture documentation may not reveal what all the business units are hiding in remote offices.
Other factors come into play as well, but these are the top three, because they are the most important ways an effective technology and operations leader can turn IT from a cost center into a true business asset and an engine of growth.