Integration at the core of CIO role

Harry Goddard, Deloitte Ireland (Image: Deloitte)

19 March 2015

The “I” in CIO is increasingly signifying integration, as the macro influencing trends, from digital and analytics to cloud and social, are brought together to provide better business outcomes.

That is one of the key trends from the Deloitte annual Tech Trends report, this year entitled “The Fusion of Business and IT”.

The report says that as technology transforms existing business models and gives rise to new ones, the role of CIO is evolving rapidly, with integration at the core of its mission.

“CIOs will need to become Chief Integration Officers,” says the report.

Irish perspective
This integration role is critical from an Irish CIO’s perspective, argues the report, citing another Deloitte Ireland CIO Survey which found that while Irish CIOs are willing to make investments in technologies, two thirds set aside less than a tenth of their budget for innovation.

The “research shows that CIOs here feel constrained by risk aversion amongst their executive peers, but they need to be careful that they do not find themselves relegated to an operational role,” said Harry Goddard, technology partner, Consulting, Deloitte. “They should view their responsibilities through an enterprise-wide lens, helping ensure critical domains like digital, analytics, and cloud aren’t spurring redundant, conflicting, or compromised investments within departmental or functional silos. In this shifting landscape of opportunities and challenges, CIOs can be not only the connective tissue, but the driving force for intersecting, IT-heavy initiatives.”

“Our report,” continued Goddard, “looks at the remarkable rate of IT change and provides an insider’s view of what is happening today and anticipated in the next 18-24 months — across industries, geographies, and company sizes. It encourages IT executives to be the catalyst of change for emerging technologies — helping the business understand the ‘what,’ the ‘so what,’ and the ‘now what.’ Inspiring tomorrow, but also plotting a path to get there deliberately and responsibly from the realities of today.”

The issue of skills in the marketplace is also identified by the report as a key concern for CIOs, reporting a scarcity of technical talent across many industries, with some organisations facing talent gaps on multiple fronts. The report cites recent figures which highlighted 7,000 unfilled jobs in the ICT sector. It also said that there are unprecedented requirements for new and different skill sets, including creative design, user experience engineering, and other disciplines grounded in the arts.

The report argues that to tackle these challenges, companies will have to nurture a new kind of employee — the IT worker of the future — who possesses habits, incentives, and skills that differ from those of today. They will also need to develop new techniques for organising, delivering, and evolving the IT mission.

Ambient computing
This IT worker of the future will be deeply embedded in what the report calls Ambient Computing. This is the “backdrop of sensors, devices, intelligence, and agents that can put the Internet of Things to work”. The report asserts that possibilities abound from the tremendous growth of embedded sensors and connected devices — in the home, the enterprise, and the world at large. Translating these possibilities into business impact requires focus — purposefully bringing smarter ‘things’ together with analytics, security, data, and integration platforms to make the disparate parts work with each other.

Other key trends identified include amplified intelligence, which is the use of artificial intelligence to amplify workers’ abilities; the API economy, where soft components are re-used, shared and monetised; software-defined everything, where the entire infrastructure and operating environment is being virtualised and automated; and core renaissance, or modernising systems to pay down technical debt and re-platforming solutions while embracing innovative new services.

Business impact
“The report examines tech advances not for technology’s sake,” said Goddard, “but offers a look at how advancements in IT can significantly impact businesses, government agencies, and potentially even society. A healthy scepticism towards ‘shiny object syndrome’ is required giving the pace and magnitude of change. Tech Trends 2015 looks to short-circuit hype cycles, including real-world examples of the trend in action and a prescriptive section covering ‘where do you start.’ Over the coming months, CIOs and executives will have the opportunities to learn more about these trends, develop a response plan, and prepare for what’s next.”

The full report is available here.



 TechCentral Reporters

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