• info@unlokq.co.uk
  • UK
  • 07826 892222
    18 Oct 19

    The evolution of the CIO

    This post was initially prompted by the last entry in a list of 6 by @CIOnline. I never got around to publishing it (2 years ago) but I read another post in CIO just this week. Seems I wasn’t far off current thinking 😊

    The word ‘adapt’ in the first post seems a little too small in scale to understand the potential change required in a central IT organisation. And note there the use of the word central! Adaptation is to take something and make it fit a new purpose, in this case IT. But most will constrain their thinking, by making assumptions. Since IT is a centralised function most would assume that it must remain central.

    Align with business strategy

    As MuleSoft says, [in a rather different context]; “Let’s break IT”, or better put, lets decentralise it. Rather than central IT working for the lines of business, often spreading themselves too thinly, or in the wrong proportions, they need to become part of the lines of business. What Jim calls BusOps – I prefer BizOps. This can only happen if the things that IT produces are relevant to the business. We know that this is often not the case, as it one of the cited causes of ‘shadow IT’.

    IT as a cost centre

    The most efficient model for IT is a central structure – resource and skills shared. This has long been the mantra of those proponents of efficiencies of scale. But, with shrinking budgets for traditional IT, those efficiencies are offset by inadequate effectiveness. If IT staff move into the LoB, the LoB then has dedicated skills that are directly relevant to its needs, on-tap. The IT staff become part of a profit centre.

    Writing note showing Time To Update. Business photo showcasing Renewal Updating Changes needed Renovation Modernization written by Man on Notebook Book holding Marker on wooden background

    Gig Economy?

    So we hive off parts of IT – or specific people with relevant skills – into the LoBs from where they are funded. But what if what IT [can] produce is not the right thing for the business?

    Any consumer choice should be based on the ability of the supplier to fulfil the need. They should not be forced down a single [internal] route. Simplistically, this is what leads to ‘shadow IT’. This may lead to an IT function that is larger than the work that it has to do.

    What should you do with these people that are not able to produce the right things? Let them languish in the vestiges of central IT? A ‘talent’ pool where they could have no work for a long time. Where they are a cost that the business has to withstand – and a severe one at that. Reskill them at a cost to the business?

    Or fire them! Sounds harsh, but standing still is often not an option to those employers OR employees. Potential results include;

    1. 1Passing the responsibility to the employees themselves. It is in their interest to re-skill allow themselves to find work. Either with the same organisation [in the LoB] or with another supplier.· 
    2. 2Contracting, or the ‘gig economy’. As increasingly niche – so called legacy – skills are marketable over a broader employer spectrum

    The evolving CIO

    This change may not, at first glance, be very appealing to a CIO with a large fiefdom to oversee. With top-line erosion as good people move out of IT into the business. Their role is, in conjunction with enterprise architects and Chief Data Officers, the corralling of working practices into a workable set of guidelines and structure to the technology approach. For example; Shared services platforms (mostly around security), supplier selection, and how lines of business communicate with each other – the arterial data flows that allow the business to operate.

    After all IT is Information Technology – the technology that allows for information to be stored, and shared

    The Evolved CIO

    Removed of the low-level drudge of trying to balance the books, the CIO now has a much smaller, but more impactful role.

    • Understanding of the now and future needs of the business
    • Advertising upcoming need to the wider market (gig economy included), such that they can more effectively serve your business.
    • Protecting the business against risk

    Comment below or come talk to me about creating and executing a strategy to make your IT more effective