The Modern CIO: The technological landscape continues to change rapidly in what has been called a fundamental shift. This presents many challenges for IT leaders today and could result in a new kind of role for the modern CIO. In this new environment, the speed at which these challenges are embraced and built upon will determine who succeeds and who falls back.
Long gone are the days of IT professionals simply being around to keep things running. Today’s CIO needs to embody business value by providing strategic guidance around issues like new technologies, data volumes and digitization. The responsibilities being placed on IT executives increasingly affect the dynamics of the IT department as a whole. In this climate, which areas can be reassessed and where is the most value and opportunity for IT executives? Here are a few areas where our clients are finding value, especially those who are in growth mode.
For modern IT executives, balance is key. When many squeaky wheels are competing for attention and budget dollars, we tend to pour everything into maintenance, keeping the lights on. Unfortunately, this approach does not treat IT as an investment in growth. Initial budget discussions must focus on the percentage or amount that is going to be invested in the future rather than the now in order to keep the business prospering and not just staying afloat.
The early days of cloud computing held great promise, but adoption and adaptation were slow, partly because of a natural feeling of distrust of anything new. As cloud computing has gradually shed its vulnerable image and is now viewed as secure, businesses can’t get on board fast enough and wonder about the best approach, private, public or a hybrid. Now that most businesses realize they need to consider it, cloud computing has become a disruptive force in IT.
According to leading research and advisory company Gartner, Inc., “More than $1 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud during the next five years.”
The problem is, not everything belongs in the cloud. However, with perceived benefits of agility and cost savings, modern CIOs are under more internal pressure than ever to shift in that direction. The challenge becomes finding the appropriate balance between the cloud and on-premise while managing internal pressures to move everything to the cloud.
Naturally, external, internal and application security are all growing challenges for businesses and their IT departments, and are usually at the top of the list of priorities for IT professionals. Concerns focus on such issues as having an up-to-date disaster recovery plan or an internal security protocol for the staff, as well as other layered measures to catch as many potential problems as possible before they become critical issues. At the same time, businesses must be sure that personnel from various locations have access to data and its application. The balancing act in this challenge is to be as ready as possible, to monitor, manage, gate and guard, while still ensuring access to data and keeping the information nimble and agile.
While innovation has been a buzz word for quite some time, being able to stay current and with the curve is still problematic. A recent article contends that 70% of the companies on the Fortune 1000 list only ten years ago have now vanished because they were unable to adapt to change.
The modern CIO is responsible for all aspects of innovation, including consistently driving it by building agility and platforms from which innovation and quick changes in direction can happen. Companies that can’t or won’t move with progress will disappear, and those that constantly keep innovation in their sights will be the ones to find success.
Over the last few years, the demands of the IT department and its leadership have gradually expanded. There is more to know and more to oversee. This becomes an even greater issue when the skill sets of the talent have not caught up and companies have to pause to find resources with the right skill sets. For example, areas such as machine learning, AI, data science and cloud integration have now become important skills in the business world. Unfortunately, business cannot pause until everyone catches up. Another influential research and advisory firm, Forrester, found that while 75% of businesses have a digital strategy, only 16% claim to have the skills to deliver it. Another study revealed that a whopping 93% of businesses indicate they are facing a skills shortage.
Again, this is not all bad news because now there is also a larger variety of ways to solve the same issue. In the past when it was just about keeping the lights on, it was easy to describe your IT needs and what the expectations were, but in an ever-changing environment where we are all learning as we go, it may be wise to utilize the help of Managed IT Services. With this highly professional approach, you get a team of people who pride themselves of being on top of the learning curve and who are doing top-level work for many companies with a wide variety of challenges and complexities.
Looking for help for your internal IT team? Curious where you should spend your IT dollars to get most value? Contact MBC and our experts will guide you to get the most value for your dollars.