The New Threats Facing A CIO

19 Nov

Over the last month or so there have been many blogs posted on the CIO and they have taken many different views on the role of the CIO. although the posts have covered a very wide range of areas of the CIO and his/her job the area I am going to cover for my latest post are the “The new threats facing a CIO”.

As the business and technology world continue to advance and grow year by year it is imperative that a CIO keep ahead of the game and up to date. With today’s business challenges and the pace at which technology is advancing they both combine to generate a new set of threats to the position of the CIO.

Bob Evans of Oracle earmarks four threats which could lead to potential job losses for CIO and they are;

  • Lack of vision
  • Lack of leadership
  • Trying to resist the social/mobile revolution
  • Surrendering to the 80/20 budget trap

Lack of Vision

A CIO today will not succeed in the cut throat business environment no matter how many pressure filled projects completed on time or before a deadline, no matter how reliable, no matter how technically shrew they are unless they are able to foresee what’s ahead. They run the risk of being replaced if they fail to see not only where their company and industry are and have been in the past, but where both are going in the future and why they are heading in that direction and what new opportunities are on the horizon. Business models and processes, as I’m sure all of ye know a lot about after many a reading, are growing faster than we can imagine as are customer taster and requirements. Then we move onto the technologies and this ever expanding area. With new and improving technologies such as social, mobile, cloud suites, private suites, in memory computing, big date to name but a few, continuing to populate the market it is essential for the CIO to be able to stay in touch with the game and keep on top In order to harness the power of these technologies to best suit their company/industry and not be overawed and intimidated by them.

Lack of Leadership

There have been many CIOs who have been comfortable for far too long to sit at the so called kids table and leave all the big major decisions to the powers that be and wait for the decision to be passed down and told what to do and how they should do it. But there has come a time for change for the role of the CIO. No longer must he/she wait for the decision. They need to show the leadership skills and be inspiring contributors and relentless participants in the big decisions that need to be made. These can include new ways to get closer and more personal with the customers, finding new sources of revenue, creating new or improving products and the speed in which this carried out and embed value creating technologies not only in the IT infrastructure but also in the services, processes, products and even the culture of the company.

Trying to Resist the Social/Mobile Revolution

Social and mobile technologies have been sweeping through every company/organisation/industry for the last decade now as the technology improves drastically year by year. They have helped trigger improvements in how companies communicate internally among employees and externally among the customers while also allowing discussions to be monitored, customer engagement and the ability to gain real time understandings into powerful market trends and possibilities. “Any CIO who tries to hold back the surge because of well-intentioned but tactical concerns over security or governance or standards is going to be overruled, then marginalised, and then reassigned” (Bob Evans).

Surrendering to the 80/20 Budget Trap

This threat is not the easiest one to try to overcome but it is simple enough to understand. Unless CIOs lead the way in cutting the portion of their overall IT spend, they will never free the funds required to invest in and create customer facing applications and other pioneering methods for growth and engagement. Unlike today, in the past suitable alternatives to server sprawl and underutilised storage weren’t available. Now that these alternatives are widely available they represent the key for the CIO to modernise the infrastructure to match the performance needs of the future while also bending the spending curve away from the low-value clutter to high value innovation. So with this in mind, should the mantra for the CIO should be; More innovation, less integration.

Any feedback more than welcome.

Stay tuned…

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3 Responses to “The New Threats Facing A CIO”

  1. pm1083 November 20, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I agree that the CIO should take a more active role in the organisation but is the CIO’s traditional role not just to advise on possible investments and new, emerging technologies? At what point does the CIO start stepping on the toes of those in higher management positions?

    • ericlynch1 November 27, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      Apologies about the delay in replying to you pm1083 but to answer your question, yes I suppose when the CIO originally came into play their traditional role was to just advise on possible and new investments but as technology has progressed so has the role. The role is much more important now and the CIO is more involved. They need to be not only IT savvy but business savvy as well and I don’t think the are necessarily stepping on the toes of those in higher management because they sometimes tend to have more knowledge on the technologies and what they will bring to the organisation so I think it is more beneficial to the company to have the CIO involved.

  2. pm1083 November 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    No problem about the delay ericlynch1, I’m fully aware of the pressures that we have all been under these past few weeks. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment.

    It’s interesting how the role of the CIO is evolving and how the functions performed are becoming increasingly important to business.

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