Article

Image and perception of IT: CIOs as figureheads

The preceding articles have already highlighted the opportunities that arise in a crisis and in particular the use of IT as a competitive factor. But: even when IT organizations do great work, they are often not appreciated sufficiently.

Why is that? Four suggestions in this context:

The basis: image and perception of IT and its services

In the coronavirus crisis, it has mainly been medical personnel and those working in essential professions who have been thanked for their work. By contrast, the many extraordinary achievements of IT, some of which were crucial to survival (e.g. switching to online selling, working from home), have hardly been mentioned at all.

Outstanding work (in times of crisis perhaps even heroism that rescues companies) matters little if its quality is not conveyed or is not made known to a wider public. The motto “do something good and tell everyone about it” is essential for IT in particular, which in some cases struggles to sell its services and perhaps goes under the radar of internal communication.

Appropriate communication is required to recognize and appreciate the importance of such services. This is underestimated in many cases. The wider public does not generally know where to start when confronted with technical parameters indicating peak performance. Comparisons and examples drawn from familiar aspects of everyday life can help here. Terms such as “300 HP” or “construction of ocean-going ships” are often more comprehensible than IT performance indicators such as MIPS and PetaBytes or detailed descriptions of the complexities of specific projects.

The boost: use of social media even for internal company matters

Most companies have grasped the impact of social media influencers in society. They have learned that not just traditional press work, but also a presence and representation in social media is becoming increasingly important for external communication and image.

Editorial maintenance by trained personnel is important on social media: the quality of presentation and professionalism of responses have a crucial impact on public image – shit storms are just the tip of the iceberg on the negative side of the coin.

In many companies, the intranet and email are as far as it goes for internal communication. But in this area, too, the use of social media is becoming increasingly important: younger employees are usually more IT savvy and regard interaction with social media (“likes”) as a matter of course. Acceptance of the transfer of relevant information and its dissemination is correspondingly high, inhibition thresholds are significantly lower.

Of all areas, IT is in an ideal position to use social media: it knows its own tools best! Content management systems, publishing tools, control systems etc. channel communication content quickly and efficiently, while significantly reducing the complexities of publication. The expansion in working from home encourages more extensive use of social media in the context of company communication. Future applications will integrate them even further.

The top level: CIOs as figureheads

CIOs as the most senior representatives of IT shape the image of IT to a significant extent. The perception of the whole IT organization stands or falls with the perception of their personality and actions.

Despite their outstanding work, many CIOs are forced into a shadowy existence that does them no justice. The fact that the prophet has no honor in his own country is often evident in the way that the outside world recognizes extraordinary achievements more than those inside the company, where the work is taken for granted, partly because there is no basis for comparison. In addition to the technical and organizational management of IT, more intensive selling of its services and the perception and appreciation of users right through to the end customer is therefore coming into focus.

Communication of achievements and subsequent dissemination on social media (“likes”) also helps in this case: a CIO who gains significant recognition for their achievements outside the company will also enjoy respect and recognition internally.

The image transformation of the CIO from an “IT guru” in previous times to a smart business partner and enabler of digitization and innovation is one of the drivers of success for the entire team: pride in achievements, self-confidence based on adequate representation of one’s own concerns and understanding. And it’s a well-known fact that a motivated team can move mountains …

In general, there is a multitude of interesting tools and mechanisms available for improving the perception of IT and its services. On the basis of its many years of experience, ResultONE is good at supporting CIOs.

The benefit: recruitment boost

The external perception of corporate IT and its CIOs – along with the image of the company as a whole – is also a crucial element in recruiting new employees in IT: the better the reputation of IT within and, in particular, outside the company and its perception as an employer, the better the chances of successful recruitment.

IT organizations that are known in the outside world to be modern, efficient, skilled, dynamic and innovative are a real magnet for committed future employees for whom job satisfaction, pride, image and recognition of what they do are important. The resulting employee satisfaction is evident not least in low turnover rates.

CIOs and internal IT employees convey this image to the outside world. They become apostles, as it were. Through their activities as IT ambassadors, they provide important support to recruiting new employees.

The image and perception of IT and its services are therefore not just soft factors, but even have a commercial value at the end of the day!

Are these issues also important in your company and your IT?

ResultONE is the ideal partner to advise and support companies on their way to using their IT as a strategic competitive factor and establishing CIOs as smart business partners.

Questions

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