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IT Leadership: Grab A Tiger by the Tail

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Shortly after taking office, President Obama’s CIO (Vivek Kundra) formed a “tigre” team (technology, innovation, and government reform) in order to implement IT reform within the US government The US IT budget representing an astounding $80B, representing over 2,000 data centers.

This recent article by the Sydney Morning Herald highlights Mr. Kundra’s focus on IT transparency including an online IT dashboard with performance rankings. The result of his effort was a shift towards consolidation (to increase datacenter capacity) and virtualization (to leverage cloud-based provisioning speed and consumption based costing).

While Mr. Kundra has since moved on (he joined after a brief stint at Harvard), his innovative IT dashboard lives on as an open source offering.  More importantly, he highlighted the importance and value of IT transparency.

Corporate IT department can learn a lot form Mr. Kundra’s TIGRE initiative. The most important lesson and most difficult being practices of transparency. If your IT organization is trying to figure out how to drive more value, innovation can help, but innovation without transparency will give you only average results. IT leaders can produce breakthrough value by building innovation behaviors at every level. This requires transparency between employee and their managers, and transparency between IT and the business units.

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