CIO · Cloud

Three key changes to look for in 2018

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2017 has officially come to a close and 2018 has already started with a bang. As I look forward to what 2018 brings, the list is incredibly long and detailed. The genres of topics are equally long and cover people, process, technology, culture, business, social, economic and geopolitical boundaries…just to name a few.

Here are three highlights on my otherwise lengthy list…

EVOLVING THE CIO

I often state that after spending almost three decades in IT, now is the best time to work in technology. That statement is still true today.

One could not start a conversation about technology without first considering the importance of the technology leader and role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO). The CIO, as the most senior person leading the IT organization, takes on a very critical role for any enterprise. That was true in the past, and increasingly so moving forward.

In my post ‘The difference between the Traditional CIO and the Transformational CIO’, I outline many of the differences in the ever-evolving role of the CIO. Those traits will continue to evolve as the individual, organization, leadership and overall industry change to embrace a new way to leverage technology. Understanding the psyche of the CIO is something one simply cannot do without experiencing the role firsthand. Yet, understanding how this role is evolving is exactly what will help differentiate companies in 2018 and beyond.

In 2018, we start to see the emerging role of ‘Transformational’ CIO in greater numbers. Not only does the CIO see the need for change, so does the executive leadership team of the enterprise. The CIO becomes less of a technology leader and more of a business leader that has responsibility for technology. As I have stated in the past, this is very different from that of the ‘CEO of Technology’ concept that others have bandied about. In addition, there is a sense of urgency for the change as the business climate becomes increasingly competitive from new entrants and vectors. Culture and geopolitical changes will also impact the changing role of the CIO and that of technology.

TECHNOLOGY HITS ITS STRIDE

In a similar vein to that of the CIO, technology finds its stride in 2018. Recent years have shown a lot of experimentation in the hopes of leverage and success. This ‘shotgun’ approach has been very risky…and costly for enterprises. That is not to say that experimentation is a bad thing. However, the role of technology in mainstream business evolves in 2018 where enterprises face the reality that they must embrace change and technology as part of that evolution.

Executives will look for ways to, mindfully, leverage technology to create business advantage and differentiation. Instead of sitting at the extremes of either diving haphazardly into technology or analysis paralysis, enterprises will strike a balance to embrace technology in a thoughtful, but time-sensitive way. The concept of ‘tech for tech sake’ becomes a past memory like that of the dialup modem.

One hopeful wish is that boards will stop the practice of dictating technology decisions as they have in the past with mandating their organization use cloud. That is not to say cloud is bad, but rather to suggest that a more meaningful business discussion take place that may leverage cloud as one of many tools in an otherwise broadening arsenal.

CLOUD COMES OF AGE IN ALL FORMS

Speaking of cloud, a wholesale shift takes place in 2018 where we pass the inflection point in our thinking about cloud. For the enterprise, public cloud has already reached a maturity point with all three major public cloud providers offering solid solutions for any given enterprise.

Beyond public cloud, the concept of private cloud moves from theory to reality as solutions mature and the kinks worked out. Historically, private cloud was messy and challenging even for the most sophisticated enterprise to adopt. The theory of private cloud is incredibly alluring and now has reached a point where it can become a reality for the average enterprise. Cloud computing, in its different forms has finally come of age.

 

In summary, 2017 has taught us many tough lessons in which to leverage in 2018. Based on the initial read as 2017 came to a close, 2018 looks to be another incredible year for all of us! Let us take a moment to be grateful for what we have and respect those around us. The future is bright and we have much to be thankful for.

Happy New Year!

Business · Cloud · Data

Microsoft empowers the developer at Connect

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This week at Microsoft Connect in New York City, Microsoft announced a number of products geared toward bringing intelligence and the computing edge closer together. The tools continue Microsoft’s support of a varied and growing ecosystem of evolving solutions. At the same time, Microsoft demonstrated their insatiable drive to woo the developer with a number of tools geared toward modern development and advanced technology.

EMBRACING THE ECOSYSTEM DIVERSITY

Microsoft has tried hard in the past several years to shed their persona of Microsoft-centricity of a .NET Windows world. Similar to their very vocal support for inclusion and diversity in culture, Microsoft brings that same perspective to the tools, solutions and ecosystems they support. The reality is that the world is diverse and it is this very diversity that makes us stronger. Technology is no different.

At the Connect conference, similar to their recent Build & Ignite conferences, .NET almost became a footnote as much of the discussion was around other tools and frameworks. In many ways, PHP, Java, Node and Python appeared to get mentioned more than .NET. Does this mean that .NET is being deprecated in favor of newer solutions? No. But it does show that Microsoft is moving beyond just words in their drive toward inclusivity.

EXPANDING THE DEVELOPER TOOLS

At Connect, Microsoft announced a number of tools aimed squarely at supporting the modern developer. This is not the developer of years past. Today’s developer works in a variety of tools, with different methods and potentially in separate locations. Yet, they need the ability to collaborate in a meaningful way. Enter Visual Studio Live Share. What makes VS Live Share interesting is how it supports collaboration between developers in a more seamless way without the cumbersome screen sharing approach previously used. The level of sophistication that VS Live Share brings is impressive in that it allows each developer to walk through code in their own way while they debug and collaborate. While VS Live Share is only in preview, other recently-announced tools are already seeing significant adoption in a short period of time that ranges in the millions of downloads.

In the same vein of collaboration and integration, DevOps is of keen interest to most enterprise IT shops. Microsoft showed how Visual Studio Team Services embraces DevOps in a holistic way. While the demonstration was impressive, the question of scalability often comes into the picture for large, integrated teams. It was mentioned that VS Team Services is currently used by the Microsoft Windows development team and their whopping 25,000 developers.

Add to scale the ability to build ‘safe code’ pipelines with automation that creates triggers to evaluate code in-process and one can quickly see how Microsoft is taking the modern, sophisticated development process to heart.

POWERING DATA AND AI IN THE CLOUD

In addition to developer tools, time was spent talking about Azure, data and Databricks. I had the chance to sit down with Databricks CEO Ari Ghodsi to talk about how Azure Databricks is bringing the myriad of data sources together for the enterprise. The combination of Databricks on Azure provides the scale and ecosystem that highlights the power of Databricks to integrate the varied data sources that every enterprise is trying to tap into.

MIND THE DEVELOPER GAP

Developing applications that leverage analytics and AI is incredibly important, but not a trivial task. It often requires a combination of skills and experience to fully appreciate the value that comes from AI. Unfortunately, developers often do not have the data science skills nor business context needed in today’s world. I spoke with Microsoft’s Corey Sanders after his keynote about how Microsoft is bridging the gap for the developer. Both Sanders & Ghodsi agree that the gap is an issue. However, through the use of increasingly sophisticated tools such as Databricks and Visual Studio, Sanders & Ghodsi believe Microsoft is making a serious attempt at bridging this gap.

It is clear that Microsoft is getting back to its roots and considering the importance of the developer in an enterprise’s digital transformation journey. While there are still many gaps to fill, it is interesting to see how Microsoft is approaching the evolving landscape and complexity that is the enterprise reality.

CIO

IT has a serious credibility problem and does not realize it

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One challenge for many IT organizations is that of credibility. In a recent post, I discussed the importance of credibility and the network effect in IT. What is credibility? According to Merriam-Webster, credibility is ‘the quality or power of inspiring belief or (the) capacity for belief.’

The question every IT professional, whether the CIO or otherwise should ask is: What is my reputation with those outside of IT? Do others outside of my organization believe me? Put a different way, do others outside of IT find my ability credible. This may sound strange, but could also be seen as a form of effectiveness for the IT leader and their organization. Sadly, the answer to this question differs on who you ask. When talking about this with CIOs and IT staff, I often find the answer to be ‘yes’. However, when talking with folks outside of the IT organization, the answer is often ‘no.’ I have seen this play out across a number of organizations.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CREDIBILITY

At this point, some may be asking: “So what?” or “Why is this so important?” The short answer is: without credibility, it is increasingly more difficult if not impossible to be effective in IT. For the CIO we often talk about wanting a “seat at the table” as if it is an entitlement. Bottom line: it is something earned, not freely given. Nor is it an entitlement. And without credibility, it is a non-starter. If you cannot effectively manage basics, do not expect to be included in the more interesting and strategic efforts.

Credibility provides the ability to navigate through these points in a meaningful way. Getting to a point where one can transact on their credibility takes time and work. It is important to focus on building credibility over time and avoiding the missteps that erode it.

KNOW YOUR BLIND SPOTS

One way to avoid missteps is awareness of your blind spots. Everyone has them. Few will admit to their existence and even fewer will actively seek to understand and manage them. Yet, understanding where they exist puts you in a very powerful position.

Part of understanding your blind spots is to genuinely listen…and with an open mind. Many in IT are quick to judge, offer alternative solutions or take a defensive posture. Yet, there are times when the best approach is simply to listen and learn. If we, as IT professionals, are truly interested in being perceived as change agents, we need to be genuinely open to feedback. Remember that perception of those outside of IT is reality. It matters less about what IT thinks about itself internally. Do we have all the answers? No.

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

By seeking out input and taking the feedback seriously, we can learn where our blind spots are. We also do something else in the process. We build stronger relationships. The positive engagement with others opens the door to deeper conversations where folks learn more about each other. These relationships will naturally lead to showing empathy and appreciation in understanding each other’s perspective.

Let’s face it: IT professionals are not that great at building relationships with those outside of IT. Yet, that is exactly what we need to do. Perception is reality and it is important to understand these differences. Remember, it is more important what they think, not what you think. Perception is reality.

Part of building relationships is knowing when to fall on your sword. This is particularly hard for IT folks who have come up in a culture where failure is seen as a sign of weakness. More important is to maintain a healthy balance. Again, empathy and a good dose of humility are good attributes.

Following these steps while keeping an open mind will help build credibility with those most critical to your success. Understand your blind spots and work on building strong, healthy relationships both within IT and externally. The combination of these actions will change the perception and build credibility.

CIO

The CIO: Thinking like a CEO

img_0665Over the past 30 years, now is the best time to be a CIO. The role of the CIO is in transition. At the same time, the CIO is increasingly more critical to businesses. The CIO role is moving from a Traditional CIO to a Transformational CIO. As technology becomes a necessity in defining business, the shift to a transformational CIO brings out a business focus and ultimately drives technology leadership. It is this same business focus that governs the priorities of the CEO and shared by the rest of the executive team including the CIO.

Historically, the connection between the CIO and the CEO spanned a dot or two. That doesn’t tell the true story as even roles two steps from the CEO were worlds apart. As a company progresses through their digital transformation journey, the role of the CIO increases in prominence and moves closer to the CEO. In turn, the CIO must change their thinking to that of the CEO…and the rest of the executive team. To be clear, the message is not for the CIO to run their IT organization like a CEO as that methodology brings a very different outcome.

A SHIFT IN THINKING

The role of the transformational CIO is very different from that of their predecessors. As discussed in ‘The difference between the Traditional CIO and the Transformational CIO’ the CIO, along with the rest of the organization experiences a dramatic shift in thinking. Speed and accuracy define the business decision making process. Executives rely on technology more than ever to make good business decisions. The CIO sits at the forefront by leading the technology organization.

The focus of the CIO is alignment with the CEO. In many ways, the CIO exhibits traits of the CEO while still identifying opportunities where technology becomes the differentiating strategic weapon to solving business problems. In organizations with close synergy between the CIO and CEO, the outcomes are incredibly positive.

LEARNING BY EXAMPLE

Aligning with the CEO’s thinking brings a unique clarity. However, for many CIOs, getting into a c-suite mentality is not a trivial task. It requires a change in language and perspective. In the process, the CIO adopts the conversations of the c-suite. Put another way, if the c-suite is not having the conversation, neither should the CIO. Technology conversations are replaced with business conversations. Technology becomes an enabler to business advantage, in business terms and not in technical jargon.

For years, the CIO has yearned for ‘a seat at the table’. Namely, to be considered an equal among fellow c-suite peers. Now, more than ever, it is vital for the CIO at the table. Like respect, a seat at the table is something earned, not an entitlement. Once there, one must continue to prove their ability to maintain the seat. Nor is a seat at the table the end state. The importance of technology to a company’s strategy is driving some organizations to consider putting CIOs on their Board of Directors further proving that the CIO’s role is not the end state of potential for the individual.

DRIVING TOWARD CIO EXCELLENCE

The vision of the leader proves paramount in driving toward success. Culture takes time to change and so does the role of the CIO. It starts first with leading by example. One of the first steps in the journey is Changing the language of IT: 3 things that start with the CIO. By changing the language, it telegraphs a clear message of inclusion and business focus. Second is a fundamental understanding of the business. Digital Transformation requires intimate knowledge of the business, lead by the CIO and through different perspectives. A third step is in building relationships with executives including the CEO. Until there is a relationship, it is hard to build trust and respect. These three steps are vital to the success of both the CIO and the company as it experiences the digital transformation journey.

For the CIO, the role could not be more vital nor exciting. Now is the time to seize the opportunity and capture the passion driving business advantage.

CIO · Cloud

Eight ways enterprises struggle with public cloud

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The move to public cloud is not new yet many enterprises still struggle to successfully leverage public cloud services. Public cloud services have existed for more than a decade. So, why is it that companies still struggle to effectively…and successfully leverage public cloud? And, more importantly, what can be done, if anything, to address those challenges?

There is plenty of evidence showing the value of public cloud and its allure for the average enterprise. For most CIOs and IT leaders, they understand that there is potential with public cloud. That is not the fundamental problem. The issue is in how you get from here to there. Or, in IT parlance, how you migrate from current state to future state. For many CIOs, cloud plays a critical role in their digital transformation journey.

The steps in which you take as a CIO are not as trivial as many make it out to be. The level of complexity and process is palpable and must be respected. Simply put, it is not a mindset, but rather reality. This is the very context missing from many conversations about how enterprises, and their CIO, should leverage public cloud. Understanding and addressing the challenges provides for greater resolution to a successful path.

THE LIST OF CHALLENGES

Looking across a large cross-section of enterprises, several patterns start to appear. It seems that there are six core reasons why enterprises struggle to successfully adopt and leverage public cloud.

  1. FUD: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt still ranks high among the list of issues with public cloud…and cloud in general. For the enterprise, there is value, but also risk with public cloud. Industry-wide, there is plenty of noise and fluff that further confuses the issues and opportunities.
  2. % of Shovel Ready Apps: In the average enterprise, only 10-20% of an IT organization’s budget (and effort) is put toward new development. There are many reasons for this. However, it further limits the initial opportunity for public cloud experimentation.
  3. Cost: There is plenty of talk about how public cloud is less costly than traditional corporate data center infrastructure. However, the truth is that public cloud is 4x the cost of running the same application within the corporate data center. Yes, 4x…and that considers a fully-loaded corporate data center cost. Even so, the reasons in this list contribute to the 4x factor and therefore can be mitigated.
  4. Automation & Orchestration: Corporate enterprise applications were never designed to accommodate automation and orchestration. In many cases, the effort to change an application may range from requiring significant changes to a wholesale re-write of the application.
  5. Architectural Differences: In addition to a lack of automation & orchestration support, corporate enterprise applications are architected where redundancy lies in the infrastructure tiers, not the application. The application assumes that the infrastructure is available 24×7 regardless if it is needed for 24 hours or 5 minutes. This model flies in the face of how public cloud works.
  6. Cultural impact: Culturally, many corporate IT folks work under an assumption that the application (and infrastructure it runs on) is just down the hall in the corporate data center. For infrastructure teams, they are accustomed to managing the corporate data center and infrastructure that supports the corporate enterprise applications. Moving to a public cloud infrastructure requires changes in how the CIO leads and how IT teams operate.
  7. Competing Priorities: Even if there is good reason and ROI to move an application or service to public cloud, it still must run the gauntlet of competing priorities. Many times, those priorities are set by others outside of the CIOs organization. Remember that there is only a finite amount of budget and resources to go around.
  8. Directives: Probably one of the scariest things I have heard is board of directors dictating that a CIO must move to cloud. Think about this for a minute. You have an executive board dictating technology direction. Even if it is the right direction to take, it highlights other issues in the executive leadership ranks.

Overall, one can see how each of these eight items are intertwined with each other. Start to work on one issue and it may address another issue.

UNDERSTANDING THE RAMIFICATIONS

The bottom line is that, as CIO, even if I agree that public cloud provides significant value, there are many challenges that must be addressed. Aside from FUD and the few IT leaders that still think cloud is a fad that will pass, most CIOs I know support leveraging cloud. Again, that is not the issue. The issue is how to connect the dots to get from current state to future state.

However, not addressing the issues up front from a proactive perspective can lead to several outcomes. These outcomes are already visible in the industry today and further hinder enterprise public cloud adoption.

  1. Public Cloud Yo-Yo: Enterprises move an application to public cloud only to run into issues and then pull it back out to a corporate data center. Most often, this is due to the very issues outlined above.
  2. Public Cloud Stigma: Due to the yo-yo effect, it creates a chilling effect where corporate enterprise organizations slow or stop public cloud adoption. The reasons range from hesitation to flat out lack of understanding.

Neither of these two issues are good for enterprise public cloud adoption. Regardless, the damage is done and considering the other issues, pushes public cloud adoption further down the priority list. Yet, both are addressable with a bit of forethought and planning.

GETTING ENTERPRISES STARTED WITH PUBLIC CLOUD

One must understand that the devil is in the details here. While this short list of things ‘to-do’ may seem straight forward, how they are done and addressed is where the key is.

  1. Experiment: Experiment, experiment, experiment. The corporate IT organization needs a culture of experimentation. Experiments are mean to fail…and learned from. Too many times, the expectation is that experiments will succeed and when they don’t, the effort is abandoned.
  2. Understand: Take some time to fully understand public cloud and how it works. Bottom line: Public cloud does not work like corporate data center infrastructure. It is often best to try and forget what you know about your internal environment to avoid preconceived assumptions.
  3. Plan: Create a plan to experiment, test, observe, learn and feed that back into the process to improve. This statement goes beyond just technology. Consider the organizational, process and cultural impacts.

WRAPPING IT UP

There is a strong pull for CIOs to get out of the data center business and reduce their corporate data center footprint. Public cloud presents a significant opportunity for corporate enterprise organizations. But before jumping into the deep end, take some time to understand the issues and plan accordingly. The difference will impact the success of the organization, speed of adoption and opportunities to the larger business.

Further Reading…

The enterprise view of cloud, specifically public cloud, is confusing

The enterprise CIO is moving to a consumption-first paradigm

The three modes of enterprise cloud applications

CIO

Shifting the mindset from projects to products

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A recent post on changing the language of IT is getting quite a bit of attention among CIOs. Continuing the theme around changing the language and culture of IT, we shift gears to the mindset of projects and products. For decades, the IT mantra has been to complete projects on-time and under budget. While this may have worked well in the past, moving forward it inhibits the very core of how we deliver solutions on many different levels. Let us take a look at this a bit deeper to appreciate the challenges in project thinking and opportunities that come from a mindset shift to product thinking.

THINKING LIKE A PROJECT

The very core of project thinking considers a discrete ‘thing’, which is represented as the project and has a specific start, end and deliverable. Project thinking brings significant focus to the deliverable and parameters that support the deliverable. That can be a good thing. However, in practice, it often means too much focus. Yes, there is such a thing as too much focus. Have you heard of the phrase “Can’t see the forest for the trees?” Some of the same principles apply here.

Part of the problem has to do with timeframes. Projects can last from weeks to years. The longer the project, the bigger the issue. Over a period of time, dynamics change. Companies change. Their needs change. Even the very reasons for starting a given project may change…or worse, disappear. Yet, many still get stuck in the mantra of delivering the project on-time and under budget. Even if that means that the deliverables are no longer relevant or the needs have changed.

It is not just the project thinking that needs to change. Projects do not happen in a vacuum. The way budgets are constructed, management is organized, and objectives are set all center around project based thinking. Like many things in the complex world of IT, projects are only one facet of a broader ball of yarn that needs to evolve.

THINKING LIKE A PRODUCT

A good alternative to project based thinking is product based thinking. Many of the same metrics for projects apply to products. The one stark difference is that products evolve over time. Put a different way, products are constantly evolving (or should be) to remain relevant. Projects are very different in this way.

The constant change of a product forces a shift in thinking around remaining relevant through the different phases of the product development and lifecycle. Even the terms shift to an evolutionary focus.

By changing the paradigm to a product based one, the thinking changes in two ways: 1) There is a constant awareness to remain relevant throughout the development and shifting gears as needed and 2) products have an ongoing lifecycle process versus the start/ end focus on a project. The product based thinking forces a whole new set of questions like: How long will the product be in use (lifecycle)? What choices are implemented now in anticipation of future versions of the product? These two questions have a dramatic impact on choices made in the current phase of the product.

MANAGING THE LIFECYCLE

The lifecycle of a product can be applied to any application or service within an IT organization and their portfolio. For example, take something as benign and simple as Microsoft Exchange email. If Microsoft updates Exchange every 18 months and it takes the IT organization six months to plan an evaluation and/or upgrade, then every 12 months an evaluation is started to determine if the service (email) is a) upgraded to the latest version of Exchange, b) migrated to a different solution or c) retired from service.

In project based thinking, one might only be focused on the upgrade of Exchange irrespective of the implications to the lifecycle. There are also implications to the IT application/ service portfolio, but that is a whole discussion on itself.

MISSING THE LOST OPPORTUNITY

Are projects bad? No. But they are missing a vital component that is a critical component of products: Context. Whether it is the time that resources are committed to a project or the cost to engage the project, there is a value component that comes with greater insight to context. A project might miss a significant opportunity while a product could seize the opportunity. One side benefit is that IT portfolio management becomes a whole lot easier using this methodology.

Shifting the mindset from project based to product based creates a significant shift in the IT culture and thinking that aligns more fully with business value. It creates agility and engagement in ways not possible with project based thinking. As business value shifts, so does the product. As customer needs change, so does the product.

Moving IT from a project based methodology to a product based methodology is yet another significant step in changing the language and culture of IT.

CIO

#CIOitk: Is IT still relevant? The conversation is heating up!

The subject of IT relevance is a hotly contested subject. According to Forrester, 41% of business decision-makers believe that IT is an impediment to accelerating business success. In a recent Twitter chat, the participants addressed their thoughts on the relevance and value of IT. Disconnects, disruption and shadow IT were on the minds of participants. Not far behind…the subject of organization and culture took front and stage.

Closing the chasm

It is apparent that IT needs to change…and quick. The chasm between IT and the rest of the business is growing to the breaking point. In many ways, this is where shadow IT starts. If there is such a chasm, where does the process start to decrease the gap? The key is for the CIO to step up, and take the lead in changing the culture across the organization. Ironically, many outside IT do not believe the CIO has the capacity to make the shift. I wrote about this in Transforming IT Requires a Three-Legged Race over two years ago.

Awareness is the first step

Aside from ‘who’ starts the conversation, awareness of the problem is the first step toward resolution. The shared concern is that many IT leaders 1) are not recognizing the chasm and 2) if they do, they struggle to identify the first steps to close the gap.

For too long, IT focused on history as a predictor of the future. In other words, IT leveraged best practices as a means to future guidance. Today, the game is completely different. Today, leveraging history is almost the worst thing an IT organization can do. The past is not an indicator of the future.

Today’s organization needs to heed the phrase: Disrupt or be disrupted. IT organizations that are comfortable are those most likely to get disrupted by competitors.

Respecting the legacy

Don’t get me wrong. The legacy thinking (ie: culture, process, etc) and footprint are a reality within IT organizations today. That does not go away or change overnight. Equally an issue is that enterprise vendors face similar situations and are challenged to turn the corner too. This is about an evolution that needs to start picking up momentum…and quick!

Quoting the quotable

During the chat, a number of key quotable moments popped up. Here are just a few:

Bob Egan: If you’re not seeking change, there’s an issue. Drive change and live on the edge.

Mark Thiele: There is no comfort zone in IT.

Stuart Appley: Culture and trust are key points to today’s IT leaders.

After the chat, I asked the participants on Twitter two questions: 1) What was their one takeaway from the conversation and 2) what recommendation would they have?

Brian Katz

Takeaway: Shadow IT is only a problem if you look at it as Shadow IT versus Shadow Innovation. People just want to get their work done.

Recommendation: Move away from the idea that everything is a sacred cow, you have to be willing to move stuff when it makes sense.

Ryan Fay

Takeaway: IT is in a great position today to become Change Agents & partner with other business leader to create value and lead innovation. The tools to use are collaboration, authenticity, empathy & openness to change & becoming a modern CIO business authority.

Recommendation: Help give big picture recommendations to help all modern CIOs. Become business leaders and not just another IT “guy.” In order to have a seat at the ‘table’ you must be able to think and act like a business leader.

Philipe Abdoulaye

Takeaway: Consensus on agile collaboration between the business and IT is the key competitive advantage.

Recommendation: A model of the new style of IT is needed. Example of such a model is the Complete ITaaS Delivery Model.

Kong Yang

Takeaway: If disruptive innovation creates new business opportunities, then IT must realize innovation without disrupting themselves in order to succeed.

Recommendation: IT leaders must bridge the gap from IT Ops to business utility and show tangible ROI. Plus, have a plan to deal with industry changing technologies.

Charles Dunkley

Takeaway: Be willing to take risks to grow.

Recommendation: C-Suite could better leverage IT staff hands on insight to social and cloud tools.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that IT has a significant challenge ahead. With the advent of cloud, DevOps, containers and new service offerings, IT now has the tools to leverage a change in process and culture. To be clear, these are just tools for leverage, not the solution. Look for opportunities to drive change and disruption.

Scroll the credits…

First, thank you to the four colleagues whom developed the idea and questions for the #CIOitk discussion on IT Relevance:

Stuart Appley (@sappley) Post: Yes – IT is still relevant

Bob Egan (@bobegan)

Amy Hermes (@amyhermes)

Mark Thiele (@mthiele10) Post: IT is more relevant than ever – at least it can be

Second, another thank you to all that joined the #CIOitk conversation on Twitter. Without you, there would be no conversation. Speaking of conversations, let’s keep it going! What are your thoughts? Is IT relevant and how is that changing over time? Join the chat at #CIOitk.