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Information Lifecycle Management

Joe Baguley and Matt Johnston (Europe) - The Changing Role of the CIO

The end of the ‘culture of no'

The way we work is changing and no one knows that better or perhaps fears it the most than the CIO. After years of maintaining a stalwart approach to the centralised control, delivery and management of IT, the end user is becoming a disruptive force in changing this traditional power structure and no longer readily accepts the ‘no culture' that we're all too familiar with. 

The old-fashioned thinking around ‘maintaining central control' is becoming a preventative force in moving the organisation forward. For organisations that want to ensure they have a flexible, collaborative and competitive business in the future, their approach to IT has got to change.

Consumer technology pushing enterprise acceptance

IT is undergoing a period of change which has been ignited by a cultural and generational shift in the adoption of consumer technology. This is having a direct impact on what, and how, technology is being used in the workplace. As consumer technology continues to evolve, disruptive technologies like cloud computing emerge and with more tech-savvy and collaborative younger generations entering the workplace armed with their own devices and applications, IT is being forced to respond. 

Resisting the norm

Corporate and IT-usage policies in place, particularly around the utilisation of applications and devices dictated by the IT department,  may seem unintuitive or detrimental to the efficiency of ‘Millennials' who have grown up in a constantly-connected world.

Many employees have discovered their own ways of working by looking outside the IT red-tape. Many bypass complex IT processes everyday by using external cloud services such as Dropbox. This is just one of the many services employees are using without IT's approval, not to mention Slideshare and Gmail.

Data sharing outside of the IT infrastructure is one of the biggest threats to data security and IAM. CIOs should be asking themselves why are end users doing this? The answer is because they are getting a better service from third party providers. Dropbox's simple user-interface and its ability to just work is what appeals to employees. Instead of preventing employees from using such services, IT leaders should be looking to see how they can securely incorporate similar services into their IT infrastructure.

The end of the IT dictatorship

The pressure is on for CIOs to make some serious decisions about the future delivery of IT to the workforce. Ray Wang's piece on ‘The Four Personals of the Next-Generation CIO' particularly highlights the level of cultural change involved.

It will be the clever CIOs who realise early on that their role is shifting away from managing IT to becoming a provider of services to devices, in a managed and secure way, so end users have the right tools they need to get their job done without compromising the company's IP. Otherwise they will continue to lose out to third party providers.

CIOs should look to make their end-users, ‘consumers', and offer an internal ‘web store' type of service. If employees create their own apps to help with their job they should look to sharing these tools with colleagues - IT should shift to enable and encourage such activity. This way IT provides services that meet business needs, and do so in the context of the IT infrastructure and necessary security measures.  

The next-generation CIO

The rapid uptake of technologies like cloud computing will see the role of the CIO change from one of being an expert in the technologies they manage on a day-to-day basis to becoming a manager of relationships and builder of services.

CIOs will need a different skill set - one that is more business oriented and that views IT as making a significant contribution to meeting business goals, rather than focusing purely on delivering the technology. The challenge for the IT manager will be how these applications are secured, managed and integrated back into the business to enable effective collaboration.

Rather than looking at cloud technologies and saying ‘No, that's not the way we do things', they should be saying ‘Yes, that's a great idea; how do I either use or replicate that for my consumers?'

By  Joe Baguley, Chief Technologist (Europe, the Middle-East and Africa) at Quest Software; and Matt Johnston, Regional Director of Product Management  (Asia Pacific & Japan), also at  Quest Software.

 

 

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