5 Things That Keep CIOs Up At Night
What keeps you up at night? If you're like a lot of IT managers, keeping up with constantly changing technology is the easy part. How you deal with the rest of the company can be the real challenge.
Paul Liu is the CIO of Freeborders, a company that providesglobal consulting, technology and outsourcing services. He offers five points that keep CIOs up at night and some suggested solutions.
Problem: Consumerization of IT — Employees are adopting the consumer electronics they are used to having in their personal lives, such as iPhones and tablet PCs. Often these devices are not ready for the enterprise yet. They lack the necessary manageability and security required to be used in an enterprise settings.
Solution: Apart from the BlackBerry, smartphones in general are still in the early stages. Enterprise-level tools to manage and secure these devices are not robust enough yet. But we can educate employees on how to use these devices in a secure fashion for work. At Freeborders, employees can use their smartphones to access corporate emails after going through an extensive training on how to keep corporate data secure and protect corporate assets when using mobile devices. Within the next five years, I expect that enterprise level tools will be available to minimize data leakage and enhance security.
Problem: The Cloud — CIOs are often pressured to implement the latest trends that may not make the most business sense. Among today's most discussed trends is cloud computing. The cloud has a different meaning and promise for each company. Due to the buzz, CIOs in more established companies with heavy investment and large IT infrastructures are being pushed to adopt cloud computing at a much faster rate than what makes business sense.
Solution: Companies should take a business-driven approach to cloud adoption. At Freeborders, we take a staged hybrid approach by moving to a cloud-based email platform before other infrastructure functions such as storage. The requirements of our global and travel-centric work force necessitated an email platform that was accessible anywhere in the world. A cloud-based email platform met this key business requirement.
Problem: Doing more with less — Being asked to do more with a smaller budget has been a never-ending challenge for CIOs in the past years.
Solution: Leverage a combination of onshore and offshore resources to support the entire employee base. Today CIOs can explore a structured global sourcing approach. For companies new to outsourcing, it is recommended to partner with a vendor that is well known to help companies through this process in a structured and measured manner.
Problem: Disaster recovery/business continuity planning — CIOs understand the eventuality of disasters. It is important to maintain a high level of alertness within the organization. Typically, business continuity planning is under the umbrella of IT. IT departments continually monitor and "rehearse" in order to be prepared.
Solution: Continuous oversight and management by IT or a business continuity planning steering committee is a critical component of any effective business continuity planning program.
Problem: Talent retention — Attracting and retaining top IT talent is always on top of the agenda, especially in the IT hubs like Silicon Valley.
Solution: Implement a talent recognition program and employee development program that recognize and reward performance above market standards.