Today’s CIO faces three enormous challenges:
Complex technology landscape
For one, technology is a critical resource in today’s enterprise. But the sheer number of different technologies businesses rely on – spanning endpoints like mobile phones and laptops to on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure to custom-built and third-party delivered SaaS applications – can overwhelm the CIO and staff’s ability to manage these vital resources efficiently and securely throughout their usefulness to the organization.
Siloed, point management tools lead to inefficient manual processes
Second, because there are many types of technologies and different phases of enterprise technology management – including purchasing, deploying, monitoring, securing and maintaining – IT teams use a combination of point management tools: one for software, one for endpoints and hardware, one for on-premises and cloud infrastructure, and so on. Consequently, many of the enterprise technology (ET) processes – the processes that touch a company’s broad technology portfolio throughout the technology lifecycle – are implemented through organizationally expensive and inefficient manual workflows or by expensively built and maintained custom integrations.
Limited budget to fund disruptive technology innovation
Third, with so much money spent simply keeping the lights on – partially due to a reliance on running these expensive, manual ET processes – the next-generation CIO also faces the challenge of finding the budget to fund disruptive technology initiatives like digital transformation. In particular, incumbent organizations with pre-existing business models are at significant risk of value loss if they don’t digitally transform themselves to better compete in the digital era against born digital competitors. Similarly, with the acceleration of competition, incumbent companies also must worry about their incumbent competitors that more quickly and successfully digitally transform themselves.
The good news is the high cost of running expensive ET processes to manage a complex enterprise technology portfolio creates an opportunity for CIOs to find a way to reduce costs by improving IT productivity, freeing budget that can be redirected toward funding disruptive technology initiatives.
Historically, increased complexity has given rise to new categories of software applications that simplify processes and drive efficiencies, helping the CIO’s peers to be more successful in their respective functions:
- CRM provides lead-to-cash, enabling sales organizations to manage company relationships and interactions more efficiently by leveraging large amounts of customer data.
- HCM provides hire-to-fire, enabling HR to better manage their traditional administrative functions.
- ERP provides procure-to-pay, enabling finance and other business units to manage day-to-day business activities more efficiently.
In the book The Next CIO, I argue that the modern CIO needs a similar application to simplify the management of enterprise technology (ET) processes:
- ETM (Enterprise Technology Management) provides plan-to-EOL, enabling CIOs to define, automate and continuously optimize the end-to-end processes that derive value from the entire enterprise technology portfolio throughout the technology lifecycle.
Given this background, The Next CIO is first and foremost about cost management. I seek to answer a fundamental question: How would an ETM application help next generation CIOs take additional cost out of the existing IT organization’s budget to fund disruptive technologies like digital transformation? That said, The Next CIO is also about how running a smarter, cost-reducing IT organization can lead to improved IT productivity, data security and business observability, enabling the CIO to better articulate the IT organization’s value creation back to the business.
An ETM application would help the CIO achieve these outcomes by enabling the business to easily build, automate, and continuously optimize the end-to-end ET processes that touch the ever-expanding enterprise technology portfolio, working in concert with the business’ existing point technology management tools.
That said, the vision The Next CIO articulates is one where CIOs will rely on software – an ETM application – to observe, manage and secure enterprise technology processes, autonomously.