Let’s start 2013 by considering how the CIO function can deliver new solutions to your enterprise when as much as 80 percent of the IT budget goes to just keeping the lights on, maintaining your current systems. With market conditions forcing increased cost cutting, and a distinct trend to place more of the technology decision making and buying power in the hands of the business, the mystery of successful delivery is getting harder for the CIO to solve. 

Those who follow my CMSWire article series will not be surprised to discover that for me the clues all lead to adaptive case management as the solution.  

My proof includes the story of one CIO, the CIO of the Courts of Puerto Rico Administration, who managed to “crack the case” using case management to cost-effectively provide new services.

The CIO and the C-Suite Challenge

What makes a successful CIO? Some would say this is a trick question, that there is no such thing as a successful CIO, that in fact the "I" in CIO stands for Irrelevant. There are certainly a lot of obstacles in the way of success.

First, there is the issue of strategy oversight. While the CIO is held responsible for aligning IT with enterprise business priorities, authority doesn’t always accompany responsibility. The CIO is the enterprise’s top technology manager but in the most recent Society for Information Management survey, only 43 percent of the responding CIOs report directly to the CEO. And, according to the Economist Group’s, “The C-Suite Challenges IT: New Expectations for Business Value,” almost 20 percent of CIOs actually have no role in setting IT strategy.

Technology spend decisions are also a challenge. IDC just predicted that 58 percent of new IT investments this year will directly involve the Line of Business in the decision making, and 25 percent of these will have an LOB exec as a key decision maker. Gartner is predicting a massive shift in budgets for the future, resulting in businesses groups controlling as much as 90 percent of technology spend.

If these challenges aren’t difficult enough, then consider that the very existence and relevance of the CIO role is constantly under fire. As one CIO.com article on the Future of the CIO proclaims, “For almost as long as there have been CIOs, we've heard breathless speculation about whether the position will last, and if so, in what form.”

Time works against the CIO. The average tenure of a CIO is only about 5 years – a short window in which to make meaningful contributions to the business. No wonder then that creating value for the enterprise is such a mysterious undertaking. Of course cynics would say there is clear formula to solving the mystery: the first year is spent creating the plan, the second year is for selecting new technology and prioritizing the projects, the third year is for beginning the implementation, and the fourth year is to be spent finding the next job to move to in the coming year. I’m not that cynical! In fact, I see ample evidence of truly successful CIOs helping to transform their enterprises. How are they doing this?

How Means, Motive and Opportunity Help Solve the CIO Challenge

The CEB in their CIO survey for 2013 found that CIO priorities for the next twelve months show strong urgency around reshaping how IT creates value and how it is governed. Of course, I have a technology and solution approach in mind here. [Cue the suspenseful mystery music in the background and then play the big reveal sound.] I see adaptive case management as one of the most effective ways for CIOs to meet the challenge of creating value because it helps in 3 critical areas.