The Top 5 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013

19 Nov

As has already been discussed no C-level position has undergone as many changes in approaches, philosophies and expectations during the last few decades as that of the Chief Information Officer.

In today’s turbulent business environment, it is more important than ever for CIO’S to stay ahead of the crowd. The role of the CIO has been undermined in the last few years to the point that its importance in many firms has come into question. Bob Evans, senior VP for Oracle opinions that their are several strategic options for CIO’s to consider for the following year to help show their relevance in today’s world. If the role of the CIO is going to evolve together with modern business then these are some of the critical issues it must conquer. Evans calls for the CIO “to be a leader instead of a follower; a disrupter instead of a go-alonger; and a business-driven executive instead of a tech-focused manager.” (1)

1.     Simplify IT and Transform Your Spending: Kick the 80/20 Budget Habit.

These days, too many companies today find that they need to devote up to 80% of their IT budget just to run and maintain their legacy systems, leaving as little as 20% for innovation. The previous IT  that resulted in the 80/20 trap are simply no longer viable in today’s  demanding and always-on business world, and are indeed becoming liabilities not only because they’re insufficient but also because they hoover up vast pamounts of the IT budget and make it almost impossible for CIOs to bankroll essential new efforts in analytics or cloud or mobile or social. CIOs need to determine which vendors are only exacerbating this problem, and which ones offer modern alternatives that are cheaper, faster, and smarter. (2)

2.      Lead the Social Revolution: Drive the Social-Enabled Enterprise.

Initially when social media began to encroach the corporate world a few years back, many traditionalist CIO’s triggered immediate and unconditional opposition to social tools on the basis of security challenges, lack of familiarity and unproven value. Gradually, once it became more apparent the benefits of social media, helping form relationships between vendors and customers, CIO’s became more approachable to the idea but there was still some hesitancy. Today’s business-technology innovators must go well beyond mere passive acceptance and become passionate and unconditional drivers for the social-driven revolution and its ability to assist their companies expand by providing real-time customer insights, engagements, and processes. Evans argues that “CIOs who fight this trend will be pushed aside by CMOs and LOB heads who understand social’s potential and know they can’t compete unless that potential is harnessed by the company for competitive advantage.” (3)

3.      Embrace the Engagement Economy: Merge the Back Office and the Front Office into the Customer Office.

One of the most important aspects of the CIO position is its ability to be informed about all sectors of the company. From manufacturing to marketing,  procurement to product development, finance to Facebook. It is imperative that the CIO is well informed about and also incorporate all branches into his work. So today, as our systems of record evolve into systems of engagement, and as the social revolution expands up all facets of our enterprise to customer interactions as well as customer scrutiny, Evans argues,  “its time to bulldoze the internally constructed silos separating the folks that have traditionally touched the customer (the “front office”) with those that were never allowed to—or at least supposed to (the “back office”)? Shouldn’t we try to engage our customers in product development? Engineering? Service plans and operations? Marketing? Pricing options?.” (4)

4.      Upgrade “Cloud Strategy” to “Business Transformation Enabled by the Cloud.”

By now its 2012 and most CIO’s have embraced the cloud and implemented detailed cloud-computing strategies. But, Evans declares, “the strategic CIO will use the next several months to collaborate with the CEO in upgrading that tech-centric plan into a broader vision for a sweeping business transformation of the entire enterprise. If you’re still viewing your cloud strategy based on a tech-driven plan written a year or two ago—before the ascendancy of social, customer engagement, Big Data, and business analytics—you’re going to miss the boat.” (5)  Cloud projects will not be judged on their technical merits alone but rather by how deeply they impact upon essential business transformation initiatives, and by how much business value and opportunity they unlocked.  In this way Evans says that CIO’s will divide themselves into two segments: IT leaders who focus solely on the tech aspects of cloud deployments, and business leaders who ensure that cloud projects are created and executed in the service of customers, business execution and engagement.

5.      Transform Big Data into Big Insights, Big Vision, and Big Opportunities.

In the past year or so, a lot of the talk about Big Data has obscured the fact that the real issue is enabling intelligent and instantaneous analysis to provide adequete insights for business decisions. What is critical now for CIO’s is to ensure they are looking at these high-volume and high-velocity challenges in the correct way: as business enablers, not merely tech projects. For example, imagine if you could analyze three years worth of customer data in minutes, rather than only the past three months in hours? In the meantime, we can be certain that the scale and speed of this current challenge will only increase as CIOs must rapidly and seamlessly enhance their traditional corporate data with vast new streams of social and mobile data to realize the full potential of these strategic Big Opportunities.

(1) www.forbes.com The Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013

(2) ibid

(3) ibid

(4) ibid

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One Response to “The Top 5 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013”

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  1. A Further 5 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013 « So Opinionated … - November 20, 2012

    […] bigjim123 posted on the 19th of November about The Top 5 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013 I will further this by going into the other 5 issues which Bob Evans, senior VP for Oracle, has […]

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