Two Lessons Learn One Year Since Publishing Amazon Bestseller The Next CIO

It has been a year since I first published my Amazon bestselling book “The Next CIO,” and I’d like to share two foundational lessons I’ve learned promoting the new ETM application category, along with invite you to see a demo on a production ETM application for yourself.

Powering autonomous IT vision continues

But first, let me share that the ETM Vision remains unwavering, focused on empowering The Next CIO to power autonomous IT.

Also, the core drivers necessitating an ETM application in the industry have remained unchanged:

  • Complex technology landscape: Technology is indispensable for contemporary enterprises; however, the diverse array of technologies they rely on, ranging from mobile devices to cloud infrastructure and SaaS applications, can pose challenges for CIOs and their teams in the efficient and secure long-term management of these vital resources throughout their lifecycles.
  • Siloed, point management tools lead to inefficient manual processes: Furthermore, IT deploys a combination of siloed technology management tools to manage this complex technology landscape. Consequently, many IT workflows that consume data from these tools are run manually, or automated through expensive to build and maintain custom integrations.
  • Limited budget to fund disruptive technology innovation: Meanwhile, with so much money spent simply keeping the lights on – partially due to a reliance on running these inefficient, manual IT processes – the Next CIO also faces the challenge of finding the budget to fund disruptive technology initiatives like digital transformation and AI.

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, such as CRM (lead-to-cash), HCM (hire-to-fire) and ERP (procure-to-pay).

In The Next CIO, I argue that the modern CIO needs a similar application:

  • ETM (Enterprise Technology Management) provides plan-to-EOL, enabling CIOs and the IT organization to define, automate and optimize the end-to-end processes that derive value from the entire often siloed enterprise technology portfolio throughout the technology lifecycle.

This said, I’d like to share two foundational points I’ve learned over the past year in promoting and discussing the creation of ETM applications: How to build an ETM application and the ETM customer journey.

Lesson #1: How to Build an ETM Application

Figure 1: ETM Application Functional Blocks

In the end, progressing from a purely aspirational conversation to vendors launching ETM applications necessitates a more in-depth product discussion. Through these deliberations, I’ve come to understand that an ETM application essentially comprises two core components:

ETM Application = Standardized Workflow Applications + Next-Gen ITAM

Standardized Workflow Applications

A significant benefit of an ETM application for IT lies in the ability to procure pre-packaged workflows that automate common IT processes, such as employee offboarding. These standardized workflows should be deployed as applications within a matter of days or weeks, eliminating the extended timelines typically associated with IT projects that involve custom code development.

Furthermore, the Next CIO also enjoys advantages akin to those associated with Software as a Service (SaaS), as ETM Workflow Applications are created and optimized leveraging best practices learned from a community of customers utilizing the automated workflows.

Ultimately the vision is for ETM Marketplaces to become available where IT can choose needed pre-packaged workflows to automate their IT processes, versus funding IT projects to build custom process automation.

Next-Gen ITAM

Certainly, every IT environment is unique, and as a result, standardized workflows will require a degree of customization to harmonize with the organization’s specific processes and the technology tools in use. In addition, “automating with garbage data just makes the garbage go faster,” as shared by previous Cisco CIO Guillermo Diaz. This brings us to the second architectural block, which includes integration of “next-gen” ITAM capabilities within ETM applications, including:

  • Workflow Designer: Design, modify, automate, and orchestrate workflows through an easy-to-use, low-code flowchart user interface that supports millions of workflows daily. The Workflow Designer would be used to configure pre-packaged workflows, as well as enable IT to build custom workflows simply and quickly.
  • Business Intelligence (BI): Provide real-time visibility, notifications, and reporting into the state and performance of the organization’s automated ET processes and technology landscape.
  • Connector Integrations: Enable IT to seamlessly connect both standardized and custom workflows into the existing technology management tools and platforms. Through these integrations, an ETM application would be “agentless” leveraging existing management tool agents to help reduce the time required to deploy an ETM application.
  • ETM Database: Continuously provide improved data accuracy across the organization’s entire technology asset portfolio. An ETM database would provide a superset view of all the attributes available in the underlying enterprise management tools.

An obvious takeaway is first to offer ETM applications will be companies that have offerings with asset management capabilities, such as ITAM vendors.

Lesson #2: The ETM Customer Journey



Figure 2: The ETM Customer Journey

Of course, achieving the highly desirable end-state of “powering autonomous IT” is an admirable goal, but strategies that attempt to “boil the ocean” often yield limited success. Therefore, customers require a step-by-step roadmap for a gradual deployment and value realization from an ETM application.

As illustrated in Figure 2, companies frequently begin their ETM journey by harnessing the ETM’s “Next-Gen ITAM” capabilities to enhance visibility into endpoints, including laptops and mobile devices. This improved endpoint visibility delivers these fundamental improved outcomes:

  • Financial: For the CFO, for starters, save endpoint IT budget by improving endpoint recovery rates. One company with saves $600K/year by improving their endpoint recovery rate from 50% to 98% with an ETM application.
  • Security: For the CISO and security team, improve security posture by reducing vulnerable endpoint attack surfaces with more precise data on the state of updated endpoint security software on endpoints such as laptops.
  • Compliance/Audit Readiness: For IT and compliance teams, enhance compliance and audit readiness with comprehensive asset visibility to continuously adhere to IT governance and cybersecurity framework inventory control and management requirements.

In essence, these enhanced results provide a compelling rationale for initiating the customer’s IT journey towards implementing an ETM application, which can be quickly deployed within days or weeks.


Figure 3: The ETM Journey to Autonomous IT

Once the ETM application is in-house, the ETM customer journey essentially takes two paths as shown in Figure 3.

  • Increase technology asset visibility, improving data hygiene, starting with endpoints then adding the rest of the technology asset portfolio such as software and infrastructure.
  • Add IT process automation, deploying pre-packaged ETM Workflow applications – one workflow at a time.

One CIO told me her organization had roughly 80 key IT processes. Ideally, over time, ETM vendors will offer pre-packaged Workflow Applications that automate all typical IT processes, including processes such as IT Audit Readiness, SaaS License Management, and employee on/off-boarding.

The adoption of Enterprise Technology Management (ETM) applications marks a transformative shift in how the Next CIO and team handle their technology assets and processes. Initiated by an enhanced endpoint visibility, this customer journey results in cost savings, heightened security, and improved audit readiness, providing a compelling rationale for adopting an ETM application. Subsequently, customers can progressively expand these benefits by incorporating additional technology asset types and automated workflows as they move towards achieving autonomous IT.

Curious to learn more? Let the author Vince Vasquez know and I’ll schedule a demo for you to see ETM in action.