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CIOs and procurement pros partner on cloud services

Tom Kaneshige | April 21, 2014
Cloud services can help CIOs free themselves from worrying about managing data centers, scaling capacity, configuring servers, applying security patches and other routine maintenance so they can focus on providing insight to improve the business.

"How do you do that in a cloud environment where you're not in charge of the change?" Devin says. "We're educating some of our cloud partners like Coupa that, hey, we still need to do that so we need advanced warning."

CIOs Get Compliance

In a twist on compliance, CIOs can also help procurement pros navigate the hazards of poor user adoption of a cloud service stemming from compliance rules. CIOs can help ward off problems before business users balk and do things on their own without any regard for compliance.

"Where I see procurement transformations go awry is when we over-rotate to compliance," says Meyercord at Salesforce. "If we focus so much on making sure every box is checked along the way that we make it cumbersome for the users to use, the shadow procurement functions will continue."

Truth is, CIOs bring much to the table when evaluating and adopting a cloud service offering. They can help with end-to-end process modeling, analytics and data flow, risk management, integration, project management, change management and user testing.

"My inspiration to my team is, how do you become that SaaS consultant?" Devin says.

Cloud services, too, can help CIOs climb the value chain in their companies. CIOs look forward to the day when they no longer have to worry about managing data centers, scaling compute capacity, making sure servers have the same configuration, applying the latest security patches, and other routine maintenance.

Free from mundane tasks, the CIO can focus on ways to really improve the business, namely data analytics. The CIO can unearth mountains of customer data sprawled throughout the enterprise. Coupled with data analytics tools, the CIO can provide valuable insight into, say, a digital customer's buying habits.

"My role now is analytics," says Iyer at Juniper Networks.

The Emergence of the New CIO

Before the role of the new CIO can be realized, however, the IT department must forge a new kind of relationship — a partnership — with business managers.

Splunk's Miller says she's seen the IT department make a concerted effort to reach out to business people. Miller meets weekly with the vice president of business apps, vice president of cloud and IT of operations. (Interestingly, Miller says the operations staffer is a challenge to work with, because of his old-school thinking about IT's role, while the more senior IT executives are extremely helpful.)

How does Iyer at Juniper Networks foster a close relationship with the head of procurement and operations? "I drink a lot; he's a buddy of mine because we drink together," Iyer says, jokingly. "More importantly, I have respect for him and he has respect for me. Our goals are aligned."


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