Cost Centre to Profit Centre: Shifting IT

Nowadays, many CIOs are convincing their companies’ executive boards to turn their IT departments from cost centres of just supporting the business, to profit centres that can actually generate income.

When properly harnessed, technology can be used as a revenue generator for modern businesses, instead of being used to cut the costs of routine office work. Below are some ways you can convince your firm’s executive board to look at IT as a way of creating profits:

Promoting and selling inventions that impact the customers

As a Chief Information Officer, taking on front office tasks such as marketing and pitching 'business-oriented IT’ ideas can aid in gaining recognition from the executive team. If the IT solution you are presenting is good enough, it can be presented to business sponsors for financial backing and later adopted into the firm’s operations.

For larger organizations, you can start by forming a product-management team that can search for market opportunities and create business cases. As for the smaller and less formalized firms, CIOs can still use market studies, competitive data and customer insights to present convincing reasons before their executive board on why they should invest in new IT innovations.

Additionally, you should learn how to time your pitching accordingly. For instance, asking for financial backing of your idea after the IT department has just undergone an outage, or after the business has just received poor financial results is not recommended. Similarly, as a CIO you need to always be persistent in pushing your vision, even if you are rejected in the initial stages. Always being eager to improve on your ideas and continuing to pursue innovations that will bring about a positive impact on the organization is the optimal route.

Supporting dynamic leaders that pursue innovation

As a CIO, you should champion for business leaders that are open to new technology ideas, are good listeners and partners, ones that can drive positive changes and can fine-tune priorities based on the market feedback. Through such leaders, you can work together to create scalable team collaborations and IT architectures that can help create revenue for your company.

By developing a good rapport with top-line managers, you can be included as a member of the company’s leadership team, charged with the responsibility of creating programs that drive efficiencies, industry regulations and technology stewardships through harnessing IT. The executive board will view you more as a strategic CIO if you operate in this manner.

Putting more time on customer-oriented activities

In your everyday duty, try to create partnerships with strategic sales personnel and develop enough credibility to be sent on customer calls. Through this technique, you’ll be able to learn how the most successful salespeople win business, what marketing sources are used to find the best leads, and also gain understanding on profitability factors affecting the growth of businesses.

Consequently, when you finally get the opportunity to pitch a new idea to the executive board as a CIO, you’ll have more data, knowledge and experience to present solutions that will have a positive impact on customers and the business revenue, thus turning the company’s IT department from a cost center to a profit center.

In conclusion, CIOs can help executives turn technology from being used for cost operations only to actual profit generation, by presenting IT ideas that impact on the company’s income margin.