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Finding the future-state CIO

Byron Connolly | Feb. 5, 2013
Do CIOs need to morph into chief innovation and operation officers?


New technologies, new challenges

New technologies are also striking at the heart of how businesses operate, which is also forcing CIOs to rethink how technology aligns with their organisation's objectives.

The massive amount of data being generated today - commonly known as big data - and the issues around allowing employees to bring their own devices to work are business issues that IT departments need to address.

For instance, dealing with unstructured data generated through numerous social networks is a challenge but some organisations have devised strategies to communicate and interact with their customers through these external networks.

Tennis Australia has learnt how to do it well. The organisation analyses social media to measure players’ popularity at the Australian Open and ensure its systems can handle spikes in user activity.

But for many, it’s still an untapped opportunity. Dematic’s Davies says the rise of social media is certainly seen as a challenge for many CIOs at in his case, the angst stems from the “ingrained obligation to protect data within company borders.”

“However, the explosion of consumerisation to-date makes this an exceptional challenge and [it] will only get harder in the future. As a CIO, you know how much or how little consumerisation will benefit your organisation and if you’re in an industry sector where you allow BYOD, then you need to get a strategy in place pretty damn quick.”

Davies says an IT division would traditionally implement the appropriate level of security and take responsibility for breaches with users oblivious to the effort required or the “consequences for the CIO for breaches of security or loss of IP.”

“So what happens when you ask the end user to accept the same level of responsibility? Is the drive to bring your own device [to work] as attractive?” he says.

“I think the way forward is through end user education and I don’t mean in the form of yet another “policy” but by engaging with the end user to see what level of responsibility they are willing to accept.”

Philipson believes the issues created by the BYOD phenomenon around how CIOs deal with end-user devices is “very similar to what happened 25 years ago when PCs first came into the corporation and MIS managers had to deal with the proliferation of end user devices.”

He says that while allowing people to bring devices to work makes management more difficult, “there are mobile device management [tools] that help people do that.”

Nevin is adamant that the consumer technology industry will continue to mature and there will be “one or two” market leaders and CIOs will adopt that into their portfolio of management.


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