Why the CIO is now so important
New decade new CIO? Most definitely.
Just over ten years ago the CIO was the insurgent new Boardroom partner. Technology was turning the business world upside down or so we all thought at the time. Then the dot.com bubble burst.
At around 2006 the strategic influence of the CIO had sunk to an all time low in most organisations. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer’s 2010 apocalyptic post credit crunch vision of "more for less" seemed to confirm what everybody was thinking. Technology is a utility. No more important than perhaps facilities. Switch the lights on and there it is. Ubiquitous and seamless. The CIO then reported into Finance.
How wrong we all were!
Three reasons why the CIO is now so important;-
1. The youngest (freakin’) Billionaire
Is not Travie McCoy but Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook founder and possible living (in a T-Shirt) legend when The Social Network scoops a few Oscars in a fortnights time in Los Angeles.
Web 2.0 is transforming business as we know it. Companies are scrambling to catch up and provide their existing markets and new entrants (Generation Y) a working commercial response. Recruiting graduates has been the most affected in the short term as professional services companies have had to surrender to the power of the Harvard Facebook generation of information dissemination and personal online referrals. What’s the point of spinning how great your employment credentials are when students, graduates and post-graduates on the inside track are all talking online. Result: All recruitment companies are using Linkedin to search for additional pools of talent augmenting traditional searches and proprietary databases.
What about traditional business models? Too much to mention here but in the UK, Fortune 1000 retailer Marks & Spencer just hired Tesco’s head of online retail - the largest online grocery company in the world.
2. Mobile - its all about me
Poor Nokia. And not great for Microsoft either when Nokia’s shares dropped 5% on the announcement of the new linkup (in favour of Microsoft) at the same time ditching first love, Symbian Foundation "a true geek" organisation with Californian dreams. Nokia also confirmed that Apple iAnything and Google Android were the biggest threats to Europe’s once great wireless telecommunications sector. Everybody wants to be mobile, enjoy all the technology benefits available, anywhere in the world, on a device of their choosing and focused on "me". And the "me" generation (Xers and Yers) make choices based mainly on design and desirability - a nightmare for technology security, network architecture, firewalls and the cost platform.
3. The WikiLeaks effect - a rolling Tsunami gathering pace and power
Cyberwarfare. It’s happening already. On the geopolitical front we have Stuxnet, not just a nightmare for Iran but also Siemens who provide much of the hardware for the energy industry. And its a bank’s worst nightmare.
On January 18 this year, a former banker handed over 2,000 Swiss bank accounts to the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks, alleging that prominent individuals have been involved in mass tax evasion. The very suggestion of a breach of fidelity is enough to send clients and potential customers and investors scurrying for cover with or without "proof". Its a reputational thing.
On February 15, the Financial Times reported that Anonymous released the e-mails from Greg Hoglund, the founder of HBGary, on the eve of one of the Technology Security Industry’s largest annual conference. He had been scheduled to speak at the week-long
Here’s the thing.
The hacking incident dominated the conversation as the annual Conference began, replacing the usual chatter about securing cloud computing and smartphones and winning big contracts. Some security professionals were appalled at the lax practices that allowed access to unencrypted e-mail between the organisation concerned and federal agencies including the FBI.
To quote from the FT article: “Nobody can say that they are totally safe”, said Eva Chen, chief executive of major security firm Trend Micro. Even as they complained privately about Anonymous, security experts found themselves compelled to pore through the e-mail hoard.
“I’ve been watching it all unfold, blow by blow, with morbid curiosity, unable to look away,” said a longtime researcher at a competing Washington-area firm. “I can’t help but feel that my world will never quite be the same"
Absolutely right. About 242 million people representing Generation Y in the Middle East agree with you.
Is the CIO important? Do I need to answer that question.
February 15, 2011 02:35 PM | Permalink