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CIO Tomorrow – Managing End Users Appetite for Disruption by Maureen Metcalf

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The following post was written by Thai Lee as part of the Columbus Business First’s CIO Tomorrow Conference. Ms. Lee is one of the featured speakers in the VoiceAmerica Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations interview aired on April 26, 2016.

As “disruption” challenges “cloud” for IT buzzword supremacy, line-of-business owners (and the end-users they manage) are hungry to deploy new “disruptive” technologies in the workplace. While CIOs are eager to support the innovation that follows disruption, most are well aware that longtime, traditional IT partners still play an irreplaceable role in keeping their network and infrastructure available and secure. Today’s CIO works in the middle of legacy IT and user-driven disruptive technology.

Working in the IT channel since 1989, SHI was born and lives in the “middle.” We currently help over 17,000 IT organizations understand all the information they need to quickly evaluate, acquire and deploy traditional, disruptive and hybrid IT solutions that meet their technical, security and business needs. Based on that experience, here are three things we have found effective IT organization do to support end-user demand of disruptive technologies:

– Manage IT Assets – all the time. IT Asset Management: it’s not just for audits anymore! Any business case for deploying disruptive technology must survive a direct comparison to both your install base and your existing volume licensing entitlements. Despite their enthusiasm to roll out a new SaaS application, line-of-business owners (Marketing, Accounting, Sales) are rarely aware of an existing contract or “shelfware” that can exist elsewhere in enterprise and possibly be re-deployed to their group. An effective IT asset management program can empower IT staffers to immediately respond with an alternative solution that may make better business sense or provide tangible cost-savings.

– Normalization of consumption billing. Utilizing today’s disruptive technology often means resolving unpredictable consumption billing, which can be confusing and time-consuming. In addition to the difficulties in budgeting for varying usage levels, difficult-to-read invoices associated with consumption billing might mean unexpected lost cycles for someone within a business unit to resolve. IT organizations that can help normalize and interpret consumption billing provide a valuable service to the business units they support.

– Communicate early and often with line-of-business owners. Much like a CIO, line-of business owners are pushed by increasingly educated end-users to deploy the latest and greatest in disruptive technologies. Scheduling regular meetings with line of business owners to understand their goals and strategies (while explaining your need to remain secure and compliant) can help eliminate a political fight down the road over “who owns what.”

Never before has such powerful technology been so readily available to every level of an organization. But by supporting the effective acquisition and consumption of disruptive technologies when it makes sense for your organization ensure control, compliance and security can remain where it belongs: with IT!
Thai Lee is described by Forbes as “the modest tycoon behind America’s biggest woman-owned business” and includes Thai on their top 20 self-made women list. Ms. Lee has been the majority shareholder, President and CEO of SHI International Corp since 1989. With projected 2016 revenue of over $7 Billion, SHI International is one of the largest privately owned technology companies in North America. Under her leadership, SHI transformed from a $1 million “software-only” regional reseller into a global provider of information technology products and services. SHI provides IT procurement, IT deployment, asset management and cloud computing solutions to tens of thousands of organizations around the world.

CIO Tomorrow – Leadership is About Results that Matter

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Lincoln Selfie

The following post was written by Dr. Dale Meyerrose as part of the Columbus Business First’s CIO Tomorrow Conference. Dr. Meyerrose is one of the featured speakers in the Voice America Innovative Leaders Driving Thriving Organizations interview aired on April 26, 2016.

If you were to take a “professional selfie,” what would you see?  What would others see?  How would the perceptions of each correlate—or not?

Many of us in the technology business built reputations on our ability to keep the IT running, perform miracles on shoe-string budgets, manage IT projects, understand enterprises and processes, and respond to emergencies.  Our view of that selfie would likely reflect pride in our technical acumen and ability to deliver on many things.  Important, yes.  But in the macro-scheme of business, do those things really matter?  Do they earn you a seat at the decision tables within your respective organizations?  Do they compel the Board of Directors to seek you counsel?  The evidence over many years, lo decades, is clear—they don’t!

Why don’t others, looking at that same selfie, see you as necessary for setting corporate strategy?  Linked with company performance and customer satisfaction?  Value your contributions as cultivating opportunities and revenue, vice as a cost center to be minimized?  A crucial player in the “big” decisions over the course of time?  Hmmm.
In my view, the reason is that many CIOs (and CSOs and CISOs for that matter) don’t move beyond the “plumbing” of their younger years.  Make no mistake, the plumbing has to work and work well.  However, the skills that made us good technicians and program managers early in our career, don’t translate into the talent needed to lead complex organizations in today’s demanding business world.  Consequently, I believe it critical for CIOs to differentiate what matters from what’s merely important.
• Assigned roles and responsibilities are important, but being able to tell the “big picture” story, in a language meaningful to senior leadership is what matters.
• Leveraging the best technology ideas is important, but execution on the chosen investments is what matters.
• Fear-of-the-inevitable is important to consider, but the art-of-the-possible and operational success are what matters.
• Risk and gap assessments are important, but determining the “net benefit” calculation is what matters.
• In-sourcing and out-sourcing IT issues are important, but having the talent at the intersection of understanding both purpose and technology is what matters.

I talk to many CIOs who are frustrated by their lack of influence on major decisions made within their organizations.  Many of these very capable folks have yet to realize that people relationships and determinations are more important than the technical ones.  They lack the experience or orientation, to relate, in business terms, the criticality of their input.  And demonstrate that it is inseparably linked with major decisions and investments—and the company’s success.  Lastly, they don’t understand that strategy is more about resolve than brilliance.

Does your professional selfie look “up and out”—or “down and in?”  With almost forty years of experience in this discipline, I conclude that the former “selfie pose” is one of a successful CIO.  These are leaders that focus on the few results that matter, while leading others who take care of the myriad of other important tasks.

Dale Meyerrose
Dr. Dale Meyerrose, Major General, U.S. Air Force (retired) is President of the MeyerRose Group—a cybersecurity, executive training/coaching, and eHealth technology consulting company.  He is an adjunct instructor for Carnegie Mellon University, Institute for Software Research running their Cybersecurity Leadership Certificate program. General Meyerrose, a Southwest Asia veteran, was the first Senate-confirmed, President-appointed Chief Information Officer for the Intelligence Community after over three decades of military service.

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