Corporate Capability and the CIO

January 23, 2019

Corporate Capability Roadmap

A company that utilizes a Technology Roadmap to manage and execute on necessary upgrades and refresh cycles has a good grasp on their corporate IT needs. Keeping things maintained and efficiently running is the typical CIO value proposition. But what about a Corporate Capability Roadmap? Does the company have a solid understanding of what their future corporate capabilities should be and how does a CIO create value in helping develop that understanding? This article will explore what a Corporate Capability Roadmap is, why it is essential and how the CIO can be instrumental in the development. Let’s start with the obvious, what is a Corporate Capability Roadmap (CCR)?


Simply put, a CCR outlines large scale shifts in a company’s capability to deliver value to their customers and employees. It can be a new direction on services, pursuing different product lines or a change in how corporate group manages a process. It utilizes a relevant timeline (months, quarters, years, etc.) to achieve success and represents each major organizational process area impacted by the capability. A primary purpose of a CCR is to gain a better understanding of the cross-functional impacts, at an executive level.


For example, the sales team of a B2B company that specializes in distributing products in their industry identifies a significant new service capability that adds a differentiating revenue stream and compliments their product lines. When you take time to determine how each corporate area may affect, or be affected by the service, a more comprehensive understanding is established. This impact analysis can raise some interesting questions:

  • What customer issue are we resolving or experience are we creating/enhancing?
  • Can finance support the new revenue stream (GL, system processes)
  • Are the correct operational, business and cost structures in place to sell the service?
  • Are the correct systems, tools and other technology in place to support the service?
  • Are the requisite competencies and skills in the organization in place and is HR engaged?
  • Are special certifications or other industry requirements needed?


You can immediately see the cross-functional impact for just one new capability. Now take this scenario and apply against multiple capabilities desired from each department. To compound things further, the larger the organization, the more complex this becomes. Developing a CCR and identifying these dependencies can help mitigate the likelihood of miscommunication of expectations, missed deliverables or project failures.


The Chief Dot Connector

The CIO has a view across the entire spectrum of corporate processes because they support most, if not all, through a system or platform.  By leveraging this view and leading the CCR process, the CIO can become the “Chief Dot Connector” and directly impact the:


  • Timeline development of capability delivery
  • Budget process
  • Technology Roadmap
  • Organizational Change Plans
  • 3-5 year strategic plan


Start by interviewing executive peers on what they view as a future or enhanced capability need for their department. This effort is purely about identification. Frame the discussion by removing technology from the equation, for now, and focus on what they want to deliver regarding customer and employee improvements. The conversation may gravitate to new software or platforms, but keep it focused on capability. Compile that information into an executive overview and share the findings with your executive team.


With the capabilities identified, the executive team must work together to zero in on those that matter the most. Be prepared to work through the following.


  1. Define how it impacts customer experience or solves a customer issue
  2. Identify the service impacts on corporate functions and any external requirements
  3. Identification of skills or organizational shifts to define organization change plans
  4. Create a timeline, by area and prioritize with the executive team
  5. At the executive team level, the decision may be to build or not build the capability, buy it through an acquisition or merger or partner with someone else who is an expert and learn from them.
  6. Incorporate into the strategic plan and once finalized for employee review – Communicate, communicate, communicate! Then communicate some more!


I cannot stress enough how important #6 is from a cultural standpoint. To have the organization accept, understand and support the goals developed by the CCR is critical to their success. They will be the reason for success.


While the CCR is not a collection of projects per se, it will spawn new initiatives. Some final thoughts to consider:

  • Ensure entire executive team support and participation is in place
  • Strive to keep it simple
  • Make it relevant to your corporate values and culture
  • Communicate the results to your employees!


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