Technology 101

PR pros have an increasingly important role in incorporating technology - blogs, podcasts, videos - into their communications portfolios, so they should be aware of the need to integrate that knowledge with the C-suite to enable change across the organization. However, IT functions are not a strong suit for many top leaders, and this is reinforced by a research study by Cranfield School of Management for the Chartered Management Institute.
The research, which studied more than a thousand IT projects over the past year and followed the news that 74% of IT projects failed in 2005, concluded that CEOs must do more to understand technology, lest they risk loss of direction. The study identified five key issues for CEOs to address:

  • Creating long-term transformational value rather than implementation of one-off IT projects;• Building capability for ongoing change so that IT shapes new business models instead of being the business model;
  • Establishing a climate of open communications so that employees understand what is expected of them and stakeholders know what to expect;
  • Managing risk with confidence; and,
  • Recognizing the need for personal IT capabilities and learning about new IT issues so that change is driven from the top down.

In-depth interviews with CEOs and CIOs also revealed some notable gaps:

  • Many CEOs have limited interest in developing knowledge about technology;
  • Often, responsibility for change is passed from the CEO to tech specialists, and the strategic value is ignored or misunderstood; and,
  • Change programs often become "tired" after 18 months, but CEOs are failing to rejuvenate them.