This Holiday season is a time to think about what CIOs want and need in 2011. Here are a few thoughts:
Cloud service providers with the courage and the confidence to provide a standard easy to use way to allow CIOs to take their data and applications and leave. CIOs are savvy enough to know that the real cloud decision is not around getting into the cloud, but rather how you get out of it. Right now cloud providers present the same value proposition as the Eagles did in their song Hotel California — you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
Security and data protection tools that fight fire with fire asymmetrically. That is to say tools that raise the efficiencies of security operations and effectiveness. This will be come more important as the recent undeclared war on Visa and PayPal could make it fashionable to do the cyber equivalent of parking your truck in front of the competition so no one can get into their store.
The fortitude to make long term investments in their people, their careers and skills. That may sound disingenuous or seem like CIOs do not care about their people, but year after year many IT organizations undercut skills development by subsidizing projects with contract labor that actually bleaches the IT organization at a time when it needs to be innovative and agile.
A better relationship with their business peers and more effective governance arrangements. I put the two of these together because one leads to the other and both are required to create and sustain value in an organization. Its time to stop separating IT and the business and start referring to your business peers or business colleagues. After all, you all draw from the same bonus pool.
A new economic model for IT, which is something it sorely needs. The funding mechanisms for IT are based on principles that are more than 30 years old but IT is nothing like it was 30 years ago. Variable cost services, unit pricing, neo-charge back regimes are all Band-Aids and temporary fixes. If an increasing part of an organization’s value is in its intangibles then we need new models to manage and guide those intangibles. Without this model, IT will remain under the tyranny of meaningless measures such as percent of revenue.
More time with their family and friends as demands and pressures on the CIO and IT organization will change with a greater emphasis on growth and cost cutting. We all need a break and an opportunity to reconnect and recharge — let’s hope we create more of those opportunities in the coming year.
I know that most of these things are about as exciting as getting new socks and underwear as gifts, but if you need these things you are happy to get them. Pointing out the need for less glamorous gifts hopefully does not make me a Grinch — if you recall he took everything the Who’s had including the who-nails holding up their who-stockings.
I am sure that you call can suggest other things that CIOs would like to see under their tree.