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Changing Workplace

The Rise of Intelligent Technology and the Fast-Changing Role of the CIO

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - The workplace of today is dramatically shifting as technology becomes more deeply connected to core business outcomes like growth, customer experience and profitability. From Insight’s partner event, Synergy, Insight Enterprises’ Chief Information Officer Mike Guggemos shared survival tips as “Information Technology” rapidly evolves into “Intelligent Technology™.”

“I speak often to CIOs from many of the largest, most sophisticated and recognizable businesses today,” said Guggemos. “The very thing that was once at the heart of their position – being the gate keepers of all that is technical – has rapidly evolved toward something quite different and I doubt the evolution is over.”

Guggemos discussed three major “watch out” issues that every CIO needs to be aware of as they deal with the move toward Intelligent Technology:

1) Watch out for chaos in the core: Grab hold and don’t let go

CIOs are increasingly confronted by applications external to their businesses – cloud based services that may or may not work with their architecture. Today, CIOs are picking out the core functions they must own and protect so that other functions are able to choose cloud services as needed. If a CIO doesn’t have a core architecture nailed down, adding in new elements will create massive chaos. Identifying the core and holding on to it is non-negotiable.

2) Watch out for missing guardrails along the path: Let business functions do their thing

CIOs are realizing that if you don’t set up core architecture you are going to struggle dramatically to figure out how to manage and support an organizations’ operations. The most effective CIOs are clearly defining core systems and, as noted above, aggressively protecting them while enabling sister functions to manipulate things outside the core. Parts of this are tied to Service Oriented Architecture, yet parts are simply modifying processes to recognize reality of cloud services. The role of the CIO is to set up guardrails and guidelines to manage the process and connections into the core, while allowing freedom at the fringe. However, this is impossible without a well-defined, clearly articulated and enforceable architecture.

3) Watch out for the elephants in the room: There has to be balance

As we move toward an Intelligent Technology future, there are two “elephants in the room” that today’s CIOs too often ignore. The first isn’t about technology – it’s the process, such as the ways cloud services are consumed and the potential to be overwhelmed financially and operationally. Showback and chargeback processes are critically important when employing cloud. The second is that every CIO needs to be prepared to say “no.” In fact, saying “yes” to everything that someone wants to add to a system is just as bad as refusing to add anything at all; there has to be balance. The CIO must focus on the core and be ready to defend it – at almost any cost – while enabling freedom at the fringe.

“IT has to know ‘the business’ to advise and lead to what is possible technically,” continued Guggemos. “As CIOs, we must 1) define, design and defend true core technology, 2) highly enable freedom at the fringe for sister functions and 3) strictly manage architecture and the approval process to ensure functionality, future growth and adaptability.”

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