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The CIO and the New Style of IT



By René Aerdts, Chief Technologist, Cloud Enablement, HP Enterprise Services and HP Fellow


I recently had the fortune of participating in a webcast discussion on CIOs and the New Style of IT with Michael Friedenberg, CEO of IDG Communications Worldwide, the publisher of CIO magazine. Michael shared results of their annual State of the CIO survey.


As we debated how CIOs can stay relevant, one strategy that kept floating to the top is  losing some weight. Legacy weight.




Admittedly, breaking out of legacy technologies and putting more IT dollars into innovative technologies is just one reason the CIO is under a tremendous amount of duress. Much of this pressure is due to the way the market continues to evolve. IT has never before experienced so much change at such a rapid pace.


Tech storm

“We really have the culmination of multiple and major technology trends hitting all at once, whether they be cloud, mobile or big data,” Michael says. “I like to call that the three-headed monster. And you can’t discount social and the consumerization of IT.”


I agree. Average growth rates of those third platform technologies at the heart of this turbulent change are approaching 11 percent. This is in contrast to the second platform technologies CIOs are traditionally steeped in—networks, storage, and computing power—where growth is  a scant one half of 1 percent.


To survive in this environment, CIOs must lessen their focus on the operational and intensify their emphasis on business strategy and the transformational processes. In the past IT was very predictable. This new world is very unbound. And instead of thousands of things, we are now talking about millions and billions of things that need to be done in real time.


CIO reboot

How can the CIO adapt? By building strong rapport with employees, partners, and customers, Michael says. The three weakest skillsets among CIOs are marketing, industry knowledge, and communications. “Get away from your desk and spend time with your internal and external customers. Smile more,” he adds. 


It’s all about performance now instead of support. The “I” in the transformational CIO should stand for integration or innovation. The CIO needs to drive change and serve customers at the pace they demand. If the “I” instead stands for inertia or inefficiency, then the CIO is not driving change or strategic value—and risks irrelevancy.


Learn more about the ways in which changes in IT are altering the CIO’s role by viewing the HP Innovation Insight webcast, “The CIO and the New Style of IT.”


ReneAerdts.jpgAbout the author

As Chief Technologist and leader of the Cloud Enablement organization within HP Enterprise Services, René Aerdts, Ph.D., creates and delivers direction and content around leading edge technologies and solutions for key clients. In recognition of his exceptional technology achievements, René was made an HP Fellow, a title awarded to HP’s most innovative thought leaders.

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