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As personal technology and business technology become more alike, some speculate that the CIO role ultimately will disappear. But will it, really? This view is shortsighted because it limits the value of enterprise IT to hardware and software, and doesn’t consider insight and skills that support emerging business drivers, mandates and risks, that face a modern CIO. Examples include:
•Data integration and management
•Predictive and analytical data modeling
•Data theft, malicious attacks and sabotage
•Compliance with regulations from various government groups
•New data-focused product features, services and sales tools, i.e., embedded sensors, flexible order fulfillment, and retail store beacons
•Enterprise scalability and flexibility
•Process and product/service efficiency improvements
Still, not everyone would describe enterprise IT as “modern,” according to Thornton May’s opinion piece in Computerworld titled, “Where is Modern IT Heading?”
“Our discipline, more likely than not, is viewed as being the antonym of modern – behind the times. I want to rebrand IT as being part of the future as opposed to being stigmatized as apart from the future,” May wrote.
May said those outside of the IT department often view it as slow to respond, closed to collaboration (he blames “geek speak”) and far removed from revenue generation. Many challenges can cause this, and some aren’t easily overcome. For example, legacy hardware, software, processes and even technicians could be entrenched due to lack of executive support, contract commitments, budget constraints and more.
This doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement, though.
Changing the image of enterprise IT can start by becoming more proactive, not only for internal technology needs but also for strategic decision-making. Businesses operate more proactively today due in large part to easier access to vast amounts of real-time data that can reveal brewing problems before they cause trouble; and result in more accurate forecasts/predictions of market behavior, materials availability, capacity availability, client needs and other business factors.
IT also needs to think ahead and plan for the future in terms of system availability and up-time. Any outage will impact all customers, so IT departments are highly motivated to prepare for all possibilities – including the worst.
If an IT department is spending time pulling weeks-old reports on these and other business factors for functional leaders, it’s fair to say that the company is still operating in reactive mode and is not being proactive. IT can be the hero that identifies opportunities to be more proactive and build systems to enable proactive decision-making.
After all, what’s more modern than the future?
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