Strategic IT Leader 2015: Something Has to Give

Posted by MailGuard Editor on 22 July 2015 17:06:00 AEST

The purpose of an IT leader is to create a customer easier, cheaper and faster. That’s the CIO’s value proposition in business today. Yet, this is not always the case.

[Part 1]
By Craig McDonald, CEO, MailGuard


“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
Peter Drucker

The timeless legacy of Peter Drucker reminds us that “the purpose of a business is to create a customer”. In this context, the purpose of an IT leader is to create a customer easier, cheaper and faster. That’s the CIO’s value proposition in business today. Yet, this is not always the case.

Can the 21st century IT Leader become a superior business value creator?

In the hyper-competitive 21st century, IT Leaders are expected to focus more on people and communication; aligning IT with the business, delivering superior customer service internally and externally, and working with management to innovate and drive value by successfully interfacing people with technology. It’s about insights and communication.

Yet, in an everyday scenario, where the competition-beleaguered CMOs constantly demand faster and uninterrupted access to new communication technologies and the CEOs push for lower costs and stronger profits, there is little bandwidth left for insights, let alone more personal communication! The risk for CIOs is that of becoming a reactive, support function in business. Some forecasts say the CMO will soon be calling the shots for IT and IT Managers who choose to wait for “the business” to tell them what to do, will be relegated to managing the “plumbing” of the infrastructure. Not a good scenario for a career and an even greater loss for business!

There is no doubt that IT Leaders are operating under enormous pressure. Something has to give.

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
Peter Drucker

Today IT Touches Everything

Regardless of your industry, chances are every department at your company has a need for some sort of IT support. Everybody looks to technology to improve performance, drive efficiency, save costs and ultimately, outsmart the competitors.

The top leadership expects the CIO to stay ahead of trends, not only in technology but most importantly, in business. Companies want IT leaders to be able to see over the horizon to recognise emerging technologies and how they can be applied to their business objectives; providing input for strategic, ‘disruptive’ business decisions.

Let’s be realistic for a moment. There are at least a dozen “urgent and important” priorities on every IT leaders’ agenda, and they all include some aspects of the Big Two:

  • 1. Strategic Exploitation of Big Data: making sense of this data, and making it accessible to those who need it; and,
  • 2. Cybersecurity [Cloud Security]: ensuring integrity of that Data and of business continuity.

Interestingly, budgets that keep shrinking, rather than growing with the needs, are the most often quoted hurdle to meeting these priorities. The thing is that when strategic solutions that add high business value emerge from addressing the main two issues, money will follow.

Fortunately, both these issues are closely related and a strategically addressing one will help address the other.

To find out more on how IT Leaders can urgently transform the IT department from a back office function into a key business driver click the Read More button below.


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Topics: Industry News Big Data CTO Data Privacy Data Protection IT Leader IT manager Network Security CIO CMO IT Support

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