Moving the CIO from their inherent comfort zones to where the “IT Magic” is !
Large Big-5 Consultancy versus Interim Consultants
Boardrooms should be open minded enough to see the value in the market of senior experienced interim consulting skills whom can often be more agile with working methods, bring interesting innovation and ideas to the table and are often faster to delivery than the huge Big-5 Consultancy houses.
Takeaways from Gartner research on the ever evolving role of the CIO.
If you take a moment to scan the social media, technology is a constantly moving ball, but sadly the CIO role does not always move at the same pace and there’s a lot of discussion being written about CIOs where you’ll get a range of different perspectives — the job is fraught, constantly in flux, no one wants it, or the CIO has not moved into the digital arena fast enough.
“There is validity in all these views, some more so than others, and the fact that so many are discussing this on social media proves there’s a good reason to be addressing it,” says Craig Ashmole, Founding Partner at London based IT consulting CCServe. “What is clear to me however is the boardroom needs to take the ‘bull-by-the-horns’ now, by asking those difficult questions:- Do we have the right CIO for the job?”
It would be naive to think that the CMO or even the evolving CDO (Chief Digital Officer) role can really just walk in and replace the CIO and the company will carry on from a technology perspective. If the CIO is addressing their technology department by moving to a world of innovative leadership and commoditising the utility elements of IT then the CIO is well on the road to getting things right.
So, how to get a grip on what’s going on in the world of the CIO? Reading a recent blog I notice that it is a serious C-Change environment, here’s a rundown of some of the most recent data from research firm Gartner about the role of the CIO, from the descriptive to the prescriptive over the first 8 months of 2015.
Perception is important
According to the Gartner report “CIOs Should Consider a New Approach to User Satisfaction,” perception of IT performance plays a significant role in how CIOs view the extent to which IT is delivering on executive expectations. The unfortunate thing here, the report says, is that what executives expect isn’t always matched up with what IT is actually able to deliver. The report details better methods of gauging satisfaction by asking the right kinds of questions to the right people in the company. It describes CIOs as bridge builders, in part by “[enabling] business leaders to better interpret the needs of their organisations.”
The percentage of female CIOs has plateaued
In Gartner’s CIO Agenda 2015: A Gender Perspective, 337 of the 2,473 respondents were women, which is about 13.6% of the sample. That percentage fits into the worldwide average of female CIOs, which is estimated from 10-14%. Gartner said the numbers have plateaued and actually are fairly similar to the plateaus found in the numbers of women in senior positions in non-technology leadership roles.
Women CIOs expect greater budget increases in 2015, more so than male CIOs
The breakdown is 2.4% vs. 0.8%. It’s unclear why exactly that is, but it’s happened two years in a row. Gartner did point out that other previous data showed that when it comes to risk management, women CIOs were more concerned about underinvestment in risk initiatives. Risk data plus budget numbers might hint toward women putting more attention toward resources.
Software-defined infrastructures, IT service continuity, and integrated systems are the top 3 emerging trends that will affect CIOs’ decision-making this year.
When looking at these trends, Gartner recommends a trio of being aware, engaged, and proactive. That means tracking trends, understanding how they’ll affect current, new, or future operations, placing them on the “shortlist” for things to evaluate or implement. The report describes a situation where people expect to have access to everything always, and as a CIO, merely delivering on that expectation is the “bare minimum.”
CIOs should take another look at their company’s chief strategy officer
Gartner put out an entire report focusing on this idea, saying that culturally, even though CSOs are c-suite, they’re often viewed as “externalities” and even treated with suspicion. In the digital business era, that should be the case, and the report talks about how CSOs increasingly affect the IT and digital business agenda.
Men and women CIOs are more similar than different
One of the report’s recommendations was to avoid gender bias as it found that there are actually more similarities than differences between men and women CIOs in their approaches to leadership, how they view technology, and how they handle digital leadership priorities. For example, the top two tech priorities for men and women CIOs in 2015 are BI/analytics and infrastructure and data centre. Women put cloud ahead of ERP in the third and fourth spots, and both put mobile as no. 5. Similarities went on from there.
Publicly announced initiatives are up
When looking at the world’s largest insurers (CIOs of World’s Largest Insurers Continue to Invest in Digital Transformation), Gartner found an increase of 10% in publically announced IT initiatives as compared to 2013. They interpreted this as a possible indicator of growth in IT spending.
A large chunk of those initiatives are mobile apps and digitisation
Gartner said about a third of publicly announced initiatives were digitisation (18%) and mobile applications (15%). They recommend looking at these trends as a point of comparison and seeing where one’s own company was in relation to market trends.
One thing not addressed by specifically by Gartner however is; how the boardroom gets their CIO to change if they have not already done so. The first and primary move should consider external support to bring creative recommendations to the table the secondary move should be the actual transition based on the revised TOM.
“There is the obvious Big-5 consultancy houses that can be approached and are so often used, but don’t neglect to consider the huge pool of innovative and agile interim consulting and transformation resources from the smaller boutique marketplace.” comments Craig Ashmole. “These interim independent resources are often well qualified for this change game, especially where it’s to support existing CIOs for short periods of skills Top-up”.
Boardrooms should do less finger pointing but enable the CIO function to transition as quickly as possible and don’t look at skills augmentation as a failure but as a means to take the CIO from their present comfort zones to where the “IT Magic” is.