It’s that time of year; when it is better to give than receive. But what do you get a CIO this year? What is on your CIO’s wish list?
With six shopping days left until Christmas here are six things I can think of talking with CIOs over the past few months. These are things that they cannot give themselves, like a new organization or new metrics, but rather things that others can give to them. They are in no particular order.
- A business relationship focused on benefits realization rather than budget expenditure. Business and IT relationships are a perennial issue in IT and one where we have tried specialized people (BRM’s), specialized processes (IT strategy) and specialized power (governance) with limited results. Putting everyone on a management path around benefits realization appears to be a way to bring people together into a positive relationship.
- Contractual service levels from cloud providers. Many CIOs are interested in adopting cloud technologies but they run up against the barrier that often cloud providers will not, or cannot provide service guarantees and service levels with contractual recourse.
- Security in just about every sense. Security in information, access, technology etc., but also security in terms of the knowledge that high performing IT organizations will get the recognition that they have earned and that resources flow with recognition – they do in other parts of the business so they should in IT.
- An executive team that understands the economics of technology and how it’s funding and pricing actually work. Technology, predominantly the infrastructure, is a source of speed, scale and choice for an enterprise. Speed in terms of executing change, scale in terms of unit cost efficiencies that are saving money even though they appear to cost more, and choice in creating future options for the enterprise, products and services. There is more to technology economics than Moore’s Law, matching supply and demand and cost accounting. Executives do not need to be ‘technoconomists’ but they should recognize the connection between technology, price, operational budget and service level.
- A hunting permit for legacy applications would enable the CIO to weed the applications garden to reduce complexity, cost, and resources consumed on long tail – low use legacy apps. Economic reality and legacy realities are colliding in new ways that require some radical approaches. Consolidation, simplification and elimination are some of the hardest and least glamorous work, but the most important in staying responsive and responsible. If you could not see the floor through the stuff in your teenager’s room you would eventually force them to clean up. Well I doubt many of us have seen the floor of the data center in years.
- Last, and most importantly – good people on their team. It cannot be stressed enough that great people make for great technology, business value, agility and the like. If there is one thing a CIO needs year round it’s good people on their team, a stream of good people stepping up and a team of good people challenging each other in a positive way.
You will notice that budget is not on the list for two reasons. First its obvious that the CIO needs resources to be successful and that many have had significant cuts in the past few years. I am unsure that simply restoring those cuts is more important than the things on the list above. Second, resources often mask real issues inside an enterprise and the challenges CIOs face are real and cannot be solved and their solutions sustained by just papering them over with money.
What is on your CIO gift list? With only six days there is still a chance to make a start this holiday season. It is better to start now rather than wind up next Friday lunchtime standing in line at the convenience store looking to buy that that last minute gift.
Welcome your thoughts and ideas.