Ask a CIO

David Gee

Transformation & Digital CIO

David is a well known Transformation & Digital CIO, he consults as an CXO Advisor in Financial Services.

With 18 years as a CIO, David has deep experience in digital change. At CUA he successfully led a major transformation of all systems and technology, this culminated in him winning CIO of the Year in 2014 for Financial Services.

He is heavily embedded in the Fintech startup ecosystem as an Advisor to Sapien Ventures, Tyro Fintech Hub, Venturetec Accelerator and also advises a number of startups.

David is a popular writer for a number of IT publications including CIO, Computerworld and CSO.

Q

Renegade IT is really bugging me

My CIO has told me to improve my business stakeholder management skills. But I feel we are turning the other cheek as there I always find “renegade” IT in the business.

It doesn’t appear consistent in fact I’m very frustrated just think we are not working to the same standard.

A

Your CIO is absolutely correct, we have to all embrace Renegade IT. I’ve personally never seen any organisation where it doesn’t exist.

On the other side, business stakeholder management is a critical competency for any IT Manager and aspiring CIO. Frankly, if you don’t want to engage in stakeholder management, then this may be the wrong career for you. Every CIO should be ensuring that you have a seat at the business table and being there to learn, challenge and also gather business priorities. When the actual priorities are crystal clear, then there is a opportunity to help re-shape the agenda and I would trust that renegade projects are surfaced in this process. Going back to Renegade IT, let me give you an example I have had some great success of taking a person who was the ‘enemy’ of IT and working with that person. Actually it became apparent that he had exceptional digital skills but lacked depth IT knowledge. In this story it had a happy ending, with that person following myself into two CIO roles and being part of my succession plan.

But I have been also burnt by Renegade IT who were in Digital and despite my overtures to work together did the exact opposite. As you expect, there comes a time that a prototype needs to go into production and actually doesn’t really work.

What I did was ‘turn the cheek’ and rather than letting them fail and by definition the organisation also not succeed. My instruction to the team as CIO, was support them and let’s get the outcome that the business needs and wants. Let me not forget to emphasize that getting frustrated is a ‘natural’ response, but it is also wasted energy. I would recommend that you reflect on what the bigger picture is and how you can change your own perspective.

- David Gee, Transformation & Digital CIO

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