Monday, August 26, 2013

CIO Leading as the Conductor

The CIO needs to lead as a conductor than a constructor, in order to speed up and improve IT agility.

Metaphorically, the CIO needs to be the bridge between the strategic goals of the business and IT. At the age of cloud, the CIO also needs to lead as a conductor than a constructor, in order to speed up and improve IT agility. A forward-thinking CIO will figure out a way to leverage the cloud to explore business options much more quickly. As the cloud era is also the age of innovation and radical digitalization, while IT provides an important structure and framework to streamline the process and enable the digital transformation. Learning the business is a must for the CIO to come up with an experiential knowledge coupled with data for enabling and empowering the enterprise. For larger enterprises, their IT resources and capability are often the company's secret sauce and the key to how they deliver value to the business

A knowledgeable CIO is highly qualified to lead a cloud transformation: Thanks to their intricate knowledge of IT. While the in-depth understanding of technology is critical, no less important is the ability to articulate the business impacts and opportunities of cloud computing to the C-suite. IT will evolve as a value-added partner for the business to facilitate and accelerate Cloud adoption wherever it's appropriate for the company. To the degree that IT is perceived as the "go-to" group of honest brokers within the company to successfully implement Cloud services, IT will avoid obsolescence and be seen as more organizationally mature in the eyes of the organization. An effective CIO is a conductor because they need to ensure that moving from the company's own IT services will not be compromised by moving to Cloud. There are some systems/services which may need to be maintained "in-house" and it is down to the CIO to ensure that the "mix" is right for the performance of the business. CIOs are ceasing to be constructors. Cloud gives the possibility of realizing an economy of scale which very few businesses can achieve within their own budgets.

A strategic CIO will craft cloud strategy as an integral element of corporate strategy: IT plays as a service broker to orchestrate business solutions not only serving internal customers but also improving end customer's touch point seamlessly. To do so, a CIO should be prepared to:  
- Develop a holistic strategy to leverage internal, external, and hybrid clouds, and decide on a transformative or step-wise approach.
- Examine the company’s needs to identify new business opportunities that will be most beneficial and will yield the best ROI. It’s essential that the CIO be optimistic but prudent about moving functions to the cloud.
- Consider every application in the IT portfolio as a candidate for the cloud, and anticipate and address all potential IT GRC issues.
- Once the CIO is convinced that a particular function is suitable for a cloud initiative, he or she must be able to convincingly articulate business benefits to colleagues in the C-suite.
- Confirm that external services can reallocate staff to manage relationships with integrated internal capabilities, service providers, and business units.

An efficient CIO needs to use IT resources effectively while reducing costs and to create strategic business value for the company. As the Cloud Computing paradigm is changing the face of traditional IT in resource allocation and management. The CIO's role is to identify and guide a top class leadership team to assure there are no surprises; there is a drive to efficiency and delivery of services which match business needs
- Reduce costs
- Introduce new and improved products
- Increase revenue
- Increase Organization productivity

A value-added CIO needs to be an ENABLER of the business strategic objectives. The general expectation of IT has changed. Not only are they being seen as an enabler, but they are also now mandatorily required to give ROI for the investments. Timelines are already decided by business and now the choice of technology gradually as well. Those are just a few items at IT largely expandable "to do" list.
-IT plays a consultative role in a vendor relationship, procurement, SLA to gain better purchasing power via negotiation.
-IT plays a governance role in managing security/risk/compliance more holistically, to brighten "shadow IT'...
-IT plays as process optimizer to continually improving business process, engage employees & customers, and manage innovation., etc.

A skillful CIO is a “cloud” conductor as IT will be there to integrate the pieces in whichever combination. Also, someone has to provide oversight for GRC; and have a holistic view of maximizing the value of the various relationships, set priority for project strategy alignment. The good news is that you can direct a project to be successful by focusing on a few projects “Musts” and “Must NOTs from a business perspective in addition to your chosen project management methodology. IT projects must:
• achieve business-critical success factors
• have a phased approach
• meet user expectations
• satisfy the sponsor – quality, cost, and time
• have no surprises!

IT projects must not
• be just a technology challenge
• continue into infinity
• Measure things only matter for itself

At the evolutionary age of cloud, CIOs will act more as conductors than constructors, with the ability to connect IT capabilities to business strategy, focus on integration and orchestration, look for productivity (cost and efficiency), effectiveness (doing the right things to achieve expected results) and capture business growth opportunities, in order to transform from cost center to value creator.  


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