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The consumerized CIO

Posted by Joerg G. Beyer
Cloud computing, especially SaaS, is one of the most interesting trends in IT, since it will restructure the entire way of how IT is managed. Users benefit from their new gained freedom to elect services individually and more quickly. IT can concentrate more on the management of the IT portfolio than managing incidents. But in extreme, the number of provider per application will converge to ONE. This means that the role of CIOs and IT manager is undergoing massive changes.
SaaS will lead to the effect that every application can be delivered and operated by a different provider, in contrast to today where IT is aiming to consolidate whatever possible to reduce management complexity - be it the number of applications or the number of provider to enhance manageability. In addition, SaaS enables the end user to directly order new applications at any time bypassing IT. This means for CIOs that they have to deal with frequent application changes, many different providers to keep track of, and changes in the application portfolio without their decision. Furthermore, every provider integrates with different other tools or offers a dedicated marketplace for additional products.
 Instead of having one data center or outsourcing partner where all the information is stored, single applications are using different data centers, leaving no central point of control. Neither quantity discounts, nor nice treatments as key account for outsourcing contracts are granted anymore. It appears that there is no clear solution to the latter, but for all other impacts there are solutions out there.

New services and providers are emerging constantly, forcing CIOs to react quickly

Where long-term planning is impossible and up-to-date information in a distributed environment are necessary it is mandatory for CIOs to foster collaborative management between business and IT. Please refrain from designing centralized IT governance processes or strict IT architecture policies as this destroys the business and IT relationship. There is a need to get to know all these information about used software, provider, interfaces and usage to ensure a well-functioning IT – still the core task CIOs. While expectations against the CIO do not change, the environment of governance and control does. It is obvious that the CIO has only one option left: to change.

CIO! Accept the new world, adapt to it and use it to your advantage.

A CIO needs time to moderate the process with the business and to be mutually part of the decision process. Therefore he must organize all IT processes in an efficient manner. One possible way is to provide a collaborative management system to support such an environment. Enterprise 2.0 is knocking at the door. Include as many people as possible for information gathering, but this must be as easy and interesting as possible to keep information up-to-date and users willing to participate. If business users are included the system cannot be an expert system. That being said, it must have a state-of-the-art web 2.0 interface with self-explanatory fields for instant use. This gives you the free time you need and you will be perceived as a new CIO.
The new role of CIOs will be to align IT strategically instead of only guaranteeing its functionality. While there is the common perception that CIOs will lose control, this is not completely true. When applying a collaborative structure, the CIO will for the first time receive all relevant data directly from users. Therefore he has more information and is able to reach better decisions.


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