The CIO, he says, needs to be front and centre of almost every organisation either as an enabler or inhibitor to future success.
The CIO essentially becoming the chief innovation officer is one of the key business trends McLaren says networked enterprises have to prepare for in the upcoming year.
“In 2015, I expect to see continued change and challenges for the CIO,” he says. “Information technology has an essential role in virtually every organisation today, so it has become critically important to break free from set behaviours and relationships in order to establish IT as a full business partner.
“Successful CIOs must look to break free from set behaviours and relationships to establish themselves as business strategy leaders and disentangle themselves from the impression that their role is simply to keep the organisation’s IT function operating.”
High-performing IT organisations, meanwhile, are realising they are not craftsmen building unique IT artefacts,” says McLaren. "They are manufacturers, using the lessons learnt from the manufacturing industry and their lean methodologies."
If businesses are to remain competitive, agile and responsive, says McLaren, the CIO and his/her team need to manage the pipeline of work like a car manufacturer, through automation, standardisation, continuous improvement and with clear visibility of the organisation’s capacity for new work.
Successful CIOs must look to break free from set behaviours and relationships to establish themselves as business strategy leaders and disentangle themselves from the impression that their role is simply to keep the organisation’s IT function operating.
The Infrastructure Operations division has made good strides over the last five years by providing levels of standardisation and automation at an infrastructure level.
However, greater value can be gained through the automation, testing, deployment and rollback of application development, deployment and lifecycle processes. Today, the “app is king” because it drives revenue, reduces costs and meets compliance requirements, he states.
DevOps combined with an Agile development methodology introduces lean characteristics, he adds.
DevOps is becoming the default “modus operandi” of high performing IT organisations, he states. "These teams drive higher market capitalisation and revenue growth because they can release new application changes 30 times more frequently.”
He also points out the importance of cloud management platforms to cope with today’s complex IT environments.
As more organisations implement cloud-based strategies, effectively managing cloud platforms will become vital, he says. With many organisations adopting a mix of public, private and hybrid clouds, the IT environment becomes more complex. Organisations may struggle to effectively manage their cloud deployments.
Cloud management platforms (CMP) provide a simplified architecture and allow the company’s systems to co-exist and interact. CMPs create an additional layer on top of existing cloud systems to provide an integrated view and set of tools to control and manage an IT environment.
“For a CMP to work consistently and coherently within a business, companies should integrate all business strategies and policies into this platform,” he says. “CMPs require a strong strategy and vision to contribute successfully to the IT environment.”
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