How CIOs Really Feel and its Implications

A copy of Deloitte University Press’ “2015 Global CIO Survey, Creating Legacy” appeared in my inbox the other day. https://www2.deloitte.com/ie/en/pages/technology/articles/cio-survey-2015.html

Its 70 odd pages were entirely consumed with how the CIOs of some of the world’s largest corporations saw their legacy[1].  Khalid Kark, the Director of Research at Deloitte,  summarized their efforts  clearly;

https://deloitte.wsj.com/cio/2015/11/09/cio-legacy-project-survey-results-are-in/.  Jolera’s comments are in Italics.

  • CIOs will need to step up or step aside. CEOs are dependent on technology and less likely to wait patiently for CIOs to deliver needed capabilities.

There are opportunities to mentor and keep clients apprised of tomorrow’s developments today.  Who better than the solution design team and channel partner to develop this relationship.

  • Savvy CIOs are actively rethinking their value propositions, delivery models, and commitments to the business. CIOs who fail to adjust will be left on the sidelines as other business leaders forge ahead to drive change through technology.

Here think of technology being applied innovatively to add value for the client. Both the technology supplier and the channel partner should jointly explore opportunities with the CIO.  Think ecosystem. Think feedback loop. Think outside the box. Think pain points, think interactions, process improvement. Think Jolera.

  • (There are) …some significant competency gaps for CIOs. Ninety-one percent of CIOs surveyed acknowledge lacking at least one of the essential skills they identified as critical to their success as a tech leader.

An opportunity for channel partners and Jolera to combine forces and develop a meaningful synergy.   Jolera brings practical experience, methods, direct delivery to the table.   Channel Partners bring a mixed bag of hardware and software, customers, and scale.  Jolera is small enough to be nimble and responsive, large enough to play with the “big boys.”

  • …good relationships with stakeholders don’t always translate into influence. They continually battle the perception that they are technology managers, and are relegated to the role of implementer in business strategy or M&A activities.

Here is where joint presentations and focused discussions with/to the C-Suite by senior officers of the ecosystem ( Channel Partner + Jolera) “captained”  by the CIO may have a meaningful impact. Think alignment of potential solutions, think repetition of messages, think unified thinking.

  • CIOs … have the competence and the confidence to adapt their operating models to meet evolving business needs. But they sometimes have difficulty communicating value and exerting influence. As a result, they fall short of leading the positive change they envision in business processes, culture, and even user habits.

While we acknowledge that the process of leading positive change is itself half art and half science (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Vzz6y6XCA)  both Partner and Technology Supplier should have a supportive role in this exercise.

There are 2 key IT executive takeaways in the report.  The first deals with future investment plans and the second deals with the role of technology in the evolving CIO mission.

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CIO investment planning points to an understanding that bottom lines are under stress and that the time has come to harvest the gains of past investments.The insightful solution provider and its partner channel role should see an opportunity to deepen relationships and answer the burning question of whether the client can do better with the assets it has? And not begin with how can we deliver more technology?

In its conclusion, the Report asks whether there is a clear path CIOs follow in creating a legacy.  It argues that 3 roles have emerged, the CIO as;

Trusted Operator

Change Instigator

Business co-creator.

There is no “right” legacy path for all circumstances.

  • CIOs should first understand what the business needs, and then migrate to the pattern most suitable for delivering against those needs.
  • Establishing healthy relationships is key to effectiveness and influence across all three patterns. The frequency of interactions is just as important in building relationships as the quality of interactions.
  • Because no individual can meet all the needs of a complex organization, surrounding yourself with complementary talent is essential.
  • Establish peer relationships outside your four walls, outside your industry, and even outside the CIO profession. Seek mentors, and reciprocate.“ Be not the first by whom the new is tried, not yet the last to cast the old aside” especially when coupled with G.K. Chesterton’s advice “Let us look to the future for that is where we are going to spend our lives.”With today’s alpha and beta testing of hardware and software, Anthony could very well have modified his guidance however in some circumstances his point is still valid ( see https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/6-operating-systems-that-failed-miserably ) . As far as Chesterton is concerned, right on! 
  • What always strikes me is, irrespective of the document, whether MBA Handbook, learned treatise, or CIOs contemplating their legacies [2] the final message is universal, and not rocket science. To quote from Robert Anthony’s advice to business executives 50 years ago in his Management Accounting, 3rd Edition, Richard D. Irwin, 1965

[1] Deloitte defines legacy as the value CIOs create for their organizations today, and how they are preparing themselves and developing people, processes, and technologies for tomorrow.

[2] Deloitte’s CIO Program claims it helps “leaders thrive at the intersection of business and IT by providing career support, connections, insights, and services designed for CIOs and their organizations”