CIO can mean more than a transaction wizard

CIOThe CIO can lead the way to derive more value from long-neglected processes .

CIOs have been told for years that they need to empower the business by bringing technology to bear on end-to-end process management. Good advice, but most CIOs have focused only on automating transactional processes, which are a small portion of total enterprise processes and the proverbial lowhanging fruit.

CIOs and IT organizations have succeeded in making transactional processes more efficient. Although this transactional efficiency has value, this value generally isn’t considered strategic. Strategic value is created by human-oriented processes—especially orchestrational and creative processes.

Service-oriented architecture, business process management, master data management, and other technologies were supposed to help CIOs provide more strategic value. But none of these have been widely adopted, in part because the dot-com implosion caused a decade-long rethinking of IT as a cost center to control rather than as an enabler of business agility. This attitude of cost curtailment and efficiency only hardened in the 2008–09 recession.

“The ultimate goal should be to work at the meta-process level. Metaprocess management leads to continuous improvement in end-to-end processes and to business transformation.

No one has expected CIOs to address human-oriented processes, but PwC thinks this expectation is about to change. In the future, enterprise leaders will demand more from technology than mere transactional efficiency. We say this because we continue to find that the concept of agility—as outlined in the PwC paper “How to build an agile foundation for change”¹—appeals to the C-suite.

CIOs need to prepare for a change in what is expected of them—to pursue value-creating activities beyond transactional efficiency. This is not as big a leap as it might seem; the CIO can improve human-oriented processes by using existing business process management and decision support technology as well as the metadata in digital assets.

The ultimate goal should be to work at the metaprocess level: enabling and managing all processes and the interactions among them. Meta-process management leads to continuous improvement in end-to-end processes and to business transformation. It allows CIOs to treat enterprise end-to-end processes as strategic assets that can be managed and improved over time.

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