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Chief revolutionary officer

Chief revolutionary officer

You need to give the business enough rope to move perhaps a couple of steps ahead of you, but you must take care not to be left too far behind, says Ray Wang of Constellation Research.

We are definitely living in revolutionary — or shall I use the term du jour, disruptive — times when CIOs can use a rallying cry of Marxist leaders to thrive in today’s networked enterprises. This thought occurred to me during a recent conversation with Ray Wang, principal analyst and CEO at Constellation Research, on how CIOs can prepare for rapid shifts in technology and business demands.

Wang says the CIO role as we know it, is “under attack”. Just five years ago, he points out, CIOs led multimillion dollar IT projects and ruled technology strategy with an “iron fist”. For many CIOs, those days are just “fond memories”, he states.

Today the centre of control has changed. ICT leaders have to contend with a raft of trends — cloud, social, mobile — plus users who do not hesitate to access the cloud for their business needs and or use their personal devices for work. In fact, says Wang, in the next two years, CIOs can expect users “to buy everything, because they think they can.”

So what should CIOs do? Wang says you need to give the business enough rope to move perhaps a couple of steps ahead of you, but you must take care not to be left too far behind.

This means, he says, “working in parallel” with the users. He says CIOs can work with them through an “integration framework”, putting in place data security and process models. “If you can help people get there, then at least they can move forward but not move so far apart from where you are.”

These insights will definitely resonate with the CIOs in the MIS100 as they grapple with the BYOD explosion and the continuing evolution of their role, courtesy of serial shifts in technology, business demands and market forces.

[Th MIS100 is CIO's annual report on the top ICT using organisations in New Zealand]

For Wang, the bottom line for CIOs is this: Effort must increase business value while reducing technology costs. There is nothing radical about this — but it is advice many CIOs will surely be heeding.

Divina Paredes is editor of CIO New Zealand. Follow her on Twitter @divinap

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