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CIOs increasingly seen as disruptors, says ex-Hilton IT czar

Gaurav Sharma | Dec. 19, 2013
CIOs are increasingly seen as disruptors as the IT chief's role becomes ever more critical in today's digitised world, according to Rob Webb, former CIO at Hilton Hotels.

In his new role at the TBM council, Webb is busy conjuring up standardised taxonomy and giving CIOs the tools to view industry benchmarking information. "Our message is simple - be it operational, financial or programme risk management of a firm, the CIO should be a trusted business partner in all cases."

However, Webb concedes the corporate world won't reach that point overnight, not least because some CIOs themselves are not quite there mentally. A recent study conducted by TBM and Forrester, based on lengthy interviews with eight CIOs, eight CFOs and three CMOs at leading global brands flagged-up some interesting points.

It found that CIOs often struggle with communicating the value of IT to their business leaders. Furthermore, IT metrics were predominantly transaction-focused at present. "There is no perfect scorecard or KPI. CIOs must focus on communicating health, delivery, outcome, and agility in their scorecards. They need to think, communicate, and measure in business terms," Webb says,

As cloud infrastructure utilisation continues to proliferate, Webb opines that CIOs must be on their toes. "Security concerns and risk over cloud infrastructure are largely overblown. My advice to CIOs would be to have a clear cloud strategy, preferably moving the non-differentiating services to the cloud first (e.g. HR, office emails, etc.) taking advantage of the economies of scale using SaaS-based services that are available.

"They then need to simultaneously invest in the right IT security technologies, to be able to understand which cloud services the employees are using. It is here that a bigger risk occurs via the unauthorised cloud services, e.g. via BYOD."

The reality, Webb says, is that many CIOs may believe they have a very good handle on how and where cloud services are in use across their enterprise, but the actual use could be several times greater than what they actually believe to be the case.


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