Top 5 rules for CIOs to survive the cloud era

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42 percent of CEOs have begun digital business transformation.”

Above statistics from the Gartner’s recent survey* reveals that digital transformation is gaining a strong foothold in the enterprises today.

Technology and product improvements are among the biggest-rising priorities for CEOs and senior business leaders in 2017 as shown in the figure below. Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow said, “IT-related priorities, cited by 31 percent of CEOs, have never been this high in the history of the CEO survey.”

Image credit – Gartner

Cloud being the harbinger of advancement and improvement is thus, the most disruptive force of IT now. Business leaders, like CXOs are taking their organizations to the cloud, to prepare them for the new opportunities in digital business, for better cost optimization and increased competitiveness. Cloud-first strategies are being used to lay the foundation for staying relevant in the digital world.

The cloud shift has effected many organizational processes of  the IT industry and procurement is one of them. Reducing and optimizing costs have always been crucial for the IT procurement leaders —but in the digital transformation era, business innovation and growth matter much.

Cloud has changed the business rules and the its decision making processes too. Earlier, in the non – cloud world, pricing structures were hidden. But with easy access to information and pricing structures, buyers are quite smart now and thus, businesses need to be wise themselves to serve today’s next gen consumers.

Besides remaining vigilant and proactive while pursuing cloud opportunities, the business leaders today need to formulate few tactics to avoid making costly mistakes or else become a victim of cloud shift.

So, CIOs – the digital transformation leaders, must help their organizations be digitally advanced by charting an enterprise cloud strategy.

Also read:

How organizations can thrive and not just survive in the cloud era?       

      1. Create a successful platform for business change

In the digital age, the most important criteria for success is the ability of an organization to change and absorb technology in its processes- old or new.

To meet digital transformation demands, CIOs should work alongside other business leaders, understand their departmental needs and enable them to make the right technology related decisions. They should ensure that modern technology teams should work in collaboration with their non – tech savvy colleagues across the organization, rather than secluding them in a corner.

With the help of a well-managed cloud strategy, businesses can provide desired services to their users – without having to worry about making big capital investments and going through long procurement processes as one can get computing power, storage and applications all on demand with cloud, anywhere, anytime.

2. Evolve and draw on the right kind of IT capability

Cloud shift has seen the rise of automation and the change in division of labor, leaving existing staff skills badly out of date – raising demand for the ideal skill set.

To cope up with this challenge, CIOs should foster the right talent to bring IT operations, development teams as well as quality assurance people together to create a more collaborative process and deliver services in a faster and more continuous manner.

DevOps is the key CIOs should adopt to make the most out of their IT professionals and operations team.  They should engage their peers in their ideas to get an array of innovative projects.

CIOs can also tap in ‘gig economy’ to address the issue of growing IT skills’ gap and find the additional talent to enable their organizations survive the cloud era.

3. Decide new ways to spend IT budget

CIOs are seemingly in a tough spot as they have to prepare their organization for the digital transformation, but without investing much on it.

They should recognize the market opportunities and challenges, and base their business decisions on proven methodologies. To tap into cost effective innovation, they need to think like a digital native and adopt new emerging technologies like hybrid cloud, blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, chatbots and more.

4. Recognize the power of Shadow IT

Until quite recently, Shadow IT was largely being frowned upon and was a cause of concern for CIOs.  But in the cloud first world, instead of looking at shadow IT in a negative light, it could be used as a force for digital transformation for getting more effective solutions. It might sound like compromising with your security in the beginning, but implementing BYOD policies or providing employees software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications on an individual or departmental basis, can help increase productivity when done with the proper policies and caution.

In short, while planning their digital transformation strategy, smart CIOs should consider shadow IT as a source of innovation to increase their capacity of digitalization while addressing security and governance basics, consistently.

       5. Create wide and adaptable support network

To keep innovation going is the most challenging task for CIOs, while other C-suite members being busy in their digital turf wars.

CIOs of today, must sync external atmosphere of an enterprise with internal ecosystem. They should be able to create a secure ecosystem of supportive cloud partners – startups, software companies, rivals that are non-competitive and any source that offers a new route to innovation and potential technological choices.

These external partnerships will help them direct more money towards innovation, that business demands as well as find great solutions to business challenges.

So, the CIO of today is an amalgamation of business and IT leadership and he should plan ahead to help his organization break silos and thrive with cloud services.

*Source: “2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business.”.

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