Freeborders CEO Shares Best Practices on Communicating the Business Value of Information Technology in the Board Room

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Jean Cholka, CEO of Freeborders, Inc., provided five best practices on demonstrating the value of information technology to the C-suite during a CIO roundtable. She emphasized that communicating the value of technology to the Board starts by showing the business that you can speak their language.

“There are still companies that perceive the IT department to be a necessary evil, or an expense item. It is time to change this misperception,” said Jean Cholka, CEO, Freeborders, Inc.

Jean Cholka, CEO of Freeborders, Inc., a global provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions to financial services and Internet based businesses, addressed members of the Center of CIO Leadership, a global community to advance the information technology (IT) profession, on the topic “Making an Impact: The C-Suite Perspective on Communicating the Value of Technology.” Cholka shared best practices on how senior IT executives can integrate technology into a company’s corporate strategy.

“There are still companies that perceive the IT department to be a necessary evil, or an expense item. It is time to change this misperception,” said Jean Cholka, CEO, Freeborders, Inc. “Communicating the value of technology to the Board starts by showing the business that you can speak their language.”

During her talk, Cholka outlined five key recommendations:

1. Align your IT organization with the lines of business, and not by systems and technology. Selecting a point person from the IT team for each business area is a proven practice to cater to the business needs.

2. Measure the success in business terms. Proactively seek the feedback on IT implementations from the end users and the management.

3. Understand the business. The entire IT team should know the top three corporate goals and how they relate to it. Recruits should be selected based on their technical skill set and their interest in the business. Some companies have seen success with rotating high performing individuals into other departments to learn the business.
4. Turn the IT organization into a seer and cash cow. Technology is a powerful tool. It can identify and mend disconnects between organizational functions and departments, increasing redundancies and inefficiencies. Like a metal detector, it can also recognize opportunities that will help the company bring in new revenues.

5. Communicate the value of IT in business terms. Knowing the business also means speaking the same language, a fundamental requirement for successful communication. Using simple analogies that illustrate the impact of IT implementations for employees and customers are more convincing than three-letter acronyms.

According to Cholka, true excellence comes from the execution and leadership. Excellent Chief Information Officers pay attention to people and technology. They understand that their teams have to deliver and communicate the value of the IT work, in plain business language.

"The Center for CIO Leadership was very fortunate to have Jean Cholka host our round table conversation. The comments and subsequent dialogue were extremely well-received by the participants,” commented Harvey Koeppel, Executive Director of the Center for CIO Leadership. “Her recommendations should be considered as foundational material for CIOs who are truly committed to advancing themselves and their profession."

Contact: Katja Schroeder, PR, Freeborders, +1 (917) 607-6567

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Katja Schroeder
Freeborders
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