Deloitte CIO Larry Quinlan believes delivering operational excellence is a "truly important, even sacred, obligation" for business and technology leaders - and that CIOs needs to collaborate closely with colleagues if they are to have the most impact adding strategic value.
Delivery and operations, Quinlan explained, were a core foundation and perhaps even stepping stone to getting involved in business strategy.
"It's part of what we do. It's not something to shy away from and say, 'I'm a strategic CIO - I don't do those things'," Quinlan said. "To me, a strategic CIO is strategic on the foundation of trains running on time and having a well-run organisation. We strive for that."
With more than 220,000 employees around the world providing consulting, advisory, tax and audit services to numerous industries, Deloitte has been working on improving everything from its mobile technology, to collaboration and administrative tools.
Quinlan and his team have made significant investments in new mobile devices and helping employees use the tools they need anytime, anywhere. They went on to develop social and knowledge sharing portals for employees and clients, and added more than 250 mobile apps to help with travel planning, time and expense recording and more.
Quinlan believes these changes have helped boost his credibility as a leader by winning favour by showing the CIO can execute when it comes to delivery. "The ugly truth is, a CIO in any organisation needs to choose," Quinlan said. "But having, I believe, an additional set of supporters provides the ability for a CIO to change the way he or she is viewed, and that, to me, is strategic, because what you find at the leadership table is really how you're viewed is how your contribution is viewed."
Quinlan also started sending out a monthly newsletter called CIO Corner to help with the adoption of new technologies or tools. The CIO said that it was crucial that there was no shameless self-promotion at that the circulation communicated best what the changes meant for the recipients.
"They read about things like the iPhone, a new mobile app that provides new service for them, anything that people believe, 'This is good for me,' that's what they latch on to. Anything that smacks of, 'This is good for the CIO,' no way."
However, when it comes to adding strategic value, Quinlan believes that a CIO can't do it alone: "We're uniquely positioned as long as we don't think we're uniquely positioned to do it alone. It absolutely requires working with lots of others, which is harder, but that's the way it works."
Additional reporting by CIO US