Survival of the F-IT-test: CIOs Must Adapt Or Lose Relevancy

According to most sources, IT – and particularly CIOs – must change or become increasingly irrelevant. The emergence of Shadow IT (AKA cockroach technology) is only the most glaring example that the times, they are a changing. Either CIOs will evolve from “No!” to “Know!” or the rush to alternative IT solutions will become an avalanche that will bury the traditional IT department.

“We’ve been seeing this change for the last few years,” said Lokesh Jindal, GM, IT Business Management, , in a recent interview with IT Trends & Analysis. “We used to sell to IT/PMO but today almost 60% of our business comes outside of IT. Business management interest has increased dramatically.”

The good news is that Gartner has predicted that by 2017 the will spend more on IT than the , while IDC expects that line of business executives will control 40% of IT spending by 2016. The bad news is that Gartner has also predicted that by 2020 90% of IT budgets will be controlled outside of IT and Forrester says IT could be obsolete by then.

A new CMO study from IBM illustrates just why CIOs – and the rest of the – are struggling with the future of IT. According to the survey of 1,734 CMOs, spanning19 industries and 64 countries, 80% anticipate a high or very high level of complexity over the next five years, but only half feel ready to handle it. They see four challenges as pervasive, universal game-changers: the data explosion, social media, proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics.

If CMOs are stuggling, then CIOs face an equally daunting task and they also feel unequal to the demands being place on them, according to a new Gartner study. Most CIOs feel overwhelmed by the prospect of building digital leadership while renovating the core of IT infrastructure and capability for the digital future.

Just over half (51%) of the 2,339 CIOs surveyed are concerned that the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope and 42% don’t feel that they have the talent needed to face this future. “2014 must be a year of significant change if CIOs are to help their businesses and public sector agencies remain relevant in an increasingly digital world,” said Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“2014 will be a year of dual goals: responding to ongoing needs for efficiency and growth, but also shifting to exploit a fundamentally different digital paradigm. Ignoring either of these is not an option,” said Aron. “CIOs are facing all the challenges they have for many years, plus a flood of digital opportunities and threats. Digitalization raises questions about strategy, leadership, structure, talent, financing and almost everything else.” This is both a CIO’s dream come true and a career-changing leadership challenge, he stated.

IBM’s CMO survey identified three key areas for improvement: they must understand and deliver value to empowered customers; create lasting relationships with those customers; and measure marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant, quantifiable terms. If CIOs aren’t doing everything they can to facilitate these requirements, then they, like the boat – or their employers – won’t be around very long.

Jindal said these developments are taking place “because what is IT and what is business is changing.” An example of this change was although he moved from California to New York 12 years ago, he didn’t move his bank.

“Is a bank a bank or IT? Who owns that experience, business or IT?”

As more and more of our interactions are based on services to customer, the concept of IT has changed, and business has taken increasing control, he said. However, that remainder, 40% or whatever, are the “crown jewels” that must be protected, aspects such as security and governance, stated Jindal.

IT and organizations must be more agile and able to respond more quickly with solutions that are easy to use.”The end user becomes very critical. Solutions have to be easily adoptable by the end user, and have to be a no-brainer… with governance at back end.”

Automation is another major trend, said Jindal. A lot of the interactions between IT and the end user are becoming more and more automated (especially) with cloud services. “I know what I want, click on it and I get it.”

 

 

Author: Steve Wexler

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