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The new breed of executive CIO

Paul Martine | Feb. 1, 2012
Where traditionally, CIOs focus on the technology within their remit, executive CIOs are realising the strategic opportunities the role offers to affect a much wider ecosystem, thanks to the omnipresence of the company IT system

In recent years, a new kind of CIO has come to prominence, the 'executive CIO'. Where traditionally, CIOs focus on the technology within their remit, executive CIOs are realising the strategic opportunities the role offers to affect a much wider ecosystem, thanks to the omnipresence of the company IT system. These executive CIOs are enhancing services and operations which, in turn, directly impact the entire organisation by enabling flexible work environments, attracting the best possible talent, improving employee satisfaction levels and enhancing sales operations.

The key to the success of the executive CIO is revolutionary change. Where previously the role has been seen as one of technical administration and day-to-day assurance that lifeline IT systems run reliably, executive CIOs are taking great leaps aimed at moving beyond the IT system as a day-to-day burden to create greater strategic value for the entire organisation. The key to their success is a demonstrable effect on the end user that supports business objectives and ensures they stay ahead of IT trends. Their decisions are vital for the business to survive and even thrive in the modern market.

Through this approach, the IT department becomes central to cross-department initiatives with consequences that have company-wide impact, from sales to recruitment to facilities and even legal departments. One example of such an initiative is the adoption of company-sponsored BYO policies.

According to the recent Citrix Global BYO Index (published July 2011), almost half of all companies (44 percent) already have some sort of formal BYO policy in place. With the proliferation of 'consumer' devices, 92 percent of organisations are aware that workers use personally owned devices for work purposes and executive CIOs are implementing BYO policies as a result. A typical IT network is difficult enough to manage without the added complexity of users moving data on to devices outside of the core infrastructure and trying to access business applications from a range of systems and platforms.

Executive CIOs are responding and enabling smarter ways of working by integrating these devices into their IT suite quickly and simply with a virtualised desktop system. Desktop virtualisation is a major step in the evolution of an organisation's IT system - an evolution to a service provider model which supports a centrally managed IT system that is deliverable to any device, anywhere, anytime. This innovation enables a sweeping change in company BYO policies to support end users to truly use any device they want, at any time they choose.

Virtualised desktop architecture and BYO policies allow CIOs to provide the ability for employees to work from anywhere at any time, with the same access as if they were sitting in the office. Where a typical business may currently enable email access through a web portal and a BlackBerry, the executive CIO can offer access to a user's desktop across an iPad, personal laptop, smartphone or any other device of choice. In addition, with a single policy, the executive CIO has enabled proven productivity gains.

 

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