There has been much debate over the future of the CIO role, with proponents on either side of the divide. Over the years, the team at FlowCentric have been fortunate enough to work with many CIOs, from a diverse range of business sectors, and one thing has become abundantly clear - the traditional role of the CIO as senior IT specialist is over.
Where to now?
Much in the same way that a Chief Financial Officer is in charge of the company’s finances so it is that a Chief Information Officer in charge of the company’s information.
If a CIO is allowing themselves to be bogged down by the state of the company’s servers, or the variable quality of networks, then they are not fulfilling their obligation to business.
With global economies in upheaval and relentless competition from emerging markets if a CIO is not adding measurable benefits to the business they will find their teams outsourced and their roles redundant.
Smart CIOs are altering IT to provide a platform for prolonged business growth. They are creating a digital strategy that accounts for the demands of tech-savvy consumers, cloud computing users and data-devoted mobile workers.
Technology, People, Business, Legislation - these aspects are in a constant state of flux.
Attempting to control each independently is tantamount to playing Whack-A-Mole, it may keep you busy but it’s not going to fix the real issues. The most effective way to manage the melee is through policies and procedures. Ultimately, a procedural document is the only consistent means of control that a company will have to manage and hold employees accountable for their actions.
Bring Your Own Device vs Bring Your Own Disaster
Many workers have access to better technology at home, than they do at work. They want to use their own devices to perform tasks and in many instances, companies are happy to allow them to do this. The challenge is managing the business information that is transferred, stored and transported on infrastructure that is outside of the IT department’s influence.
How can a CIO maintain control?
By implementing effective policies and procedures. These policies range from an Acceptable Use Policy, which sets the standard for personal device users, to an Employee Exit Policy, in order to remove a departing employee’s network access, corporate email account and so on. An effective policy should also include clear disciplinary actions and consequences for non-compliance, and it should make employees accountable by requiring them to sign the BYOD policy.
Managing a ‘charge it to the credit card’ mentality
Business has long criticised the IT department for being slow to respond and limited in their scope of services. Now, consumer app stores have set the expectation that enterprise software should be easy to find, procure and install, which is causing even greater frustration to CIOs. Department heads are by-passing IT in order to find solutions to problems they are facing now. Unfortunately, the far-reaching effects and sustainability of these purchases are seldom given sufficient consideration prior to purchase. In a nutshell - enterprise web services have the potential to cause corporate chaos. CIO’s must create all-encompassing policies to end the software services insanity or face the consequences.
What has fast become the most challenging part of a CIOs job?
Finding a balance between implementing policies and procedures that will secure company information within the business, without being a hindrance to the innovation and objectives of the organisation.
Does CIO stand for ‘career is over’?
No, not for those who are willing to adapt. However, CIOs who do not adapt are in for a lot of trouble. The problem is change: The more rapid the pace of change, the grimmer the consequences of stubbornly sticking to old ways.
In the next article, we will explore how a CIO can implement far-reaching policies and procedures that are both practical and beneficial to the organisation.