If I look at the interactions I have had over the last 5 years of being in the Cloud business, there has been a significant shift in thinking that has happened. In most cases in 2012, the CIO was a really fancy title for a Senior IT Manager. Their primary concern was around ensuring uptime of hardware and software systems and the operational aspect of IT was firmly entrenched in their minds.
Cloud was almost certainly something that didn’t really happen at scale in their businesses and they had large departments looking after these “Infrastructural” components. Cloud has now moved very much out of testing and the vision of the future, to something that is the reality and is widely used in their businesses today.
So what does this mean for the CIO of 2012 and who is the CIO of 2017? Well, simply put, the CIO of 2012 is the IT Manager of today. A CIO who has progressed in their thinking and approach to technology is now really what their title says. Chief Information Officer.
The Chief Information Officer is acutely aware of the role that data and information plays on supporting and riving the business forward. This means a distinct paradigm shift. A shift from worrying about “keeping the lights on” and really becoming the centre-point of information flow in the business.
So a small department has signed up for a Cloud service management solution and marketing has spun up some Machine Learning instances. In the past, all hell would break loose. This meant that the CIO was kept OUT of those decisions and was operating blindly that nothing of the sort was happening and IT controlled everything. The CIO of today will be included in the process, because the business will understand that they are there to enrich the business experience.
The CIO of today will look at this example and think “How can I get the Marketing inputs and outputs to meet with the Customer Service input and outputs?” Understanding that and bringing those elements together, means that they can go back to business and deliver value. Marketing can have a view of what customer service is doing and potentially create campaigns around that to generate revenue and awareness for the business. Customer service can take the marketing feedback and enhance their processes and systems to deliver a better customer experience.
In this example, does it matter where the information is and where it is processed? No, the understanding of the interaction of systems and how important that information is to various areas of the business matters way more. IT was always viewed by business as a potential inhibitor. a grudge purchase that had to made and a department you kept in the basement. Today, all businesses are technology businesses.
A progressive and business orientated CIO should be integral to any company looking at future-proofing their business strategy. Not treated like mushroom… kept in the dark and fed on… well, you know how that analogy ends.
Jonathan Kropft is the CEO of Tarsus On Demand.