September 2011 Archives
The first and foremost thing one needs to ask is what is required for fulfilling the role of the CIO for India? There is a center and there are state and there are municipal corporations. What is the role of a CIO given the kind of organization structure for the country? What should be at the center of his work and what does he have to facilitate at the state level?
Besides making a strong business case for IT adoption, a CIO has to ensure that internal processes are reviewed and improved upon, on a regular basis. For this to happen, it is essential for a CIO to have a grasp of the business environment that his department operates in and have a tab on the overall business goals of the company.
For the organization to succeed in achieving maximum business value from the IT enabled capabilities it should ensure integration and standardization for the appropriate business processes, IT infrastructure and systems. In the new scenario and only a centralized entity headed by a CIO can ensure its effective implementation.
What should be a CIO's top priority - cost or quality? A very profound question with an equally profound answer - depends! To say that either cost or quality is always the first priority would be incorrect. Cost is always a consideration, especially in the case of companies in the social domain, whose target segment is the poorest of the poor and the objective is to ensure maximum returns.
Cloud computing is inevitable. The end state promises computing resources that deliver against the New Normal's need for speed, collaboration, productivity, and scale. The transition state, however, delivers nothing but challenges for all involved. On the vendor side, big names don't necessarily equate to big capabilities.
This is first hand report on a Vendor-CIO meeting that happened in my presence a month or so ago. It wasn't meant to be a product/selling pitch but resulted into a door-opener for the vendor because of a few reasons. Firstly, the vendor didn't start selling abruptly. Secondly, the CIO was very receptive and patient while hearing what had to say.
Often, we mistake the symptom for the problem and try to attack the former. Sometimes we get into problem-solving mode without even understanding the problem. This happens because of multi-tasking and the pressure to perform faster. The best way to avoid mistakes is to find the real problem. This also enables the person questioning the user to analyze in various perspectives.
A recent study conducted by Gartner and Financial Executives Research Foundation says that CIOs alone have authorized only 5 percent of all IT investments whereas CFOs have authorized 26% of all IT investments. The study also says that 42% of IT organizations directly report to the CFO, whereas 33% report to the CEO. I am not too sure if the study conducted included only small scale organizations or mid to large enterprises.
I was asked this interesting question a few days back: Why is IT so reluctant to look at itself? As everyone in IT talks about improving processes throughout the organization, it often ignores its own idiosyncrasies. This got me thinking: Is it really so? Information Technology is today seen as major contributor to business success globally. Business leaders across functions acknowledge that IT helps businesses become more agile.
The IT department of the future will not be a cost center hiding behind the CFO of an organization. It does not mean that the department will play a lead role in business development or enhancement but it will definitely play a critical role in moving the business forward. It will be closer to the customer. It will also ensure that companies get to do business with each other more smoothly and seamlessly.