CIOs: Creative Destruction for IT Management


CIOs should take on "Creative Destruction" was the suggestion of Garner Analyst and Vice President Tina Nunno at the annual Gartner Symposium. The real call at the symposium was a challege to CIOs to take on more of a leadership role in their respective businesses.

According to Nunno, most IT organizations dedicate 70 percent of their budgets to just maintaining the business. They aren’t spending enough on new applications, said Nunno. Companies need to challenge traditional ways of thinking and focus more on their external customers.

IT leaders need to "stop taking demands" and instead "start making recommendations." They should be less service providers and more IT leaders.   Nunno spoke of Gartner’s concept of a "pace layered application strategy" which separates transformational applications from those that create long term "systems of record." 

IT organizations should stop e the "binary thinking" process. Examples of this include "IT versus business, control versus chaos, leader versus follower, supply versus demand, and build versus buy." Technology is binary, but people are analog, so companies needed to treat them as such.

As an example of "breaking down boundaries," Nunno cited the Jet Propulsion Lab. The JPL uses the cloud for IT applications such as processing space images within the Amazon cloud ( AWS).

IT departments need to stop aiming for perfection, Nunno suggested. Instead, they should "embrace calculated risks." She urged the Senior IT Managers and CIOs in attendance to take on creative destruction when they return to their organizations, and be willing to blow up existing applications as they adopt these new trends.

Other Gartner analysts suggested CIOs and other top IT executives should "reimagine IT." They encouraged blowing up existing applications and instead moving to a "postmodern business" that takes advantage of trends in cloud computing, social computing, big data, and mobile technologies.

In my opinion this is easier to speak about doing than actually implementing. Delivering reliable business services from applications requires maturity of the application that can only come from feedback from end users and the business environment the application runs it. To suggest that CIOs should blow these systems up and look for other cloud based more efficient solutions is a radical concept that few will actually adopt. 

Peter Sondergaard spoke about "the new nexus" of cloud computing, social computing, information, and mobile technologies. It is changing the way companies process data and produce information. These changes will eventually make existing enterprise solutions obsolete.  

Cloud computing today is a $74 billion market, though that only accounts for three percent of total IT spending. Cloud computing is growing at five times the rate of IT spending. The suggestion for CIOs is for businesses embrace a "cloud first" strategy. 

 This requires that CIOs first place an emphasis on using cloud computing services and not traditional IT systems.

Sondergaard discussed social computing and suggested CIOs employ social media software solutions throughout their enterprises.   

Sondergaard believes mobile is not a coming trend, but that it already happened. In 2010, the installed base of mobile PCs and smartphones exceeded the number of desktops. By 2016, he said, 918 million tablets will be sold. By 2014, the installed base of mobile operating systems will overtake that of PC operating systems, and by then 60 percent of IT organizations will deploy private app stores.

Sondergaard described six major strategic IT vendors: IBM, HP, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and Cisco; and two big disruptors: Apple and Google. He expects the six major companies to start to marketing more to end-users.  By 2014, CIOs will have lost control of 25 percent of IT spending as it moves to the business users.

CIOs and other business leaders need to "reimagine IT," embracing postmodern business, simplicity in applications,  and creative destruction, argued Sondergaard.

CIOs certainly walked away with much to consider from this years symposium. Will they invest and embrace the cloud or will they entrench and try to reduce the cost of existing operations? 

Gartner is good at bringing the most important IT issues to the forefront of peer discussions for CIOs to consider in their decision making process. Now go destroy some systems.



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