The 7 Absolute Worst Pains of the CIO

It’s time for a National CIO Pains Day!

The CIO spends his career between a rock and a hard place. The business side fills his inbox with delusions of grandeur while his Dorito-eating IT team laughs at their to-do list.

Hear his scream and your organisation will turn water into wine.

IT and Business battle like aging WWF wrestlers. Like a nuclear war, everyone loses. The CIO’s highest priority is to keep his company focused on innovation.

In order to do that, Mr. or Mrs. CIO needs an IT team that has the breathing room to see the big picture.

Let’s go over the CIO’s absolutely worst pains - and crucially, the cures.

IT is Too Slow

You love your IT team; you picked them from the cream of the crop. It’s not personal, but IT is just too slow.

You hesitate to tell them the truth - they’re reacting and not initiating. When you bring up the subject, you get “that look” and usually move on to the next order of business.

The fast-paced mobile world looks like an alternate universe. Major upgrades and new functionalities are added on a regular basis to your mobile apps.

(Wipe that smirk off your face, Mr. IT - today’s Android and iOS apps are built with no less complex architecture than your ERP custom code.)

At its worst, IT is like your colleagues at work who are always “just too swamped” to take on bigger projects and don’t know to take a breather, clear their plate for a few days and prepare for bigger things.

IT needs to rise to the challenge and catch up with the mobile standard bearer.

IT & Business are Not Aligned

Let’s say it straight - the slow cannot innovate. Your business is pushing innovation and IT can’t handle it.

Today’s mantra is “innovate or die”. IT isn’t totally to blame. ERP systems that run like 1970s cassette players are hurting the economy more than inflation. How can IT and Business be aligned when IT spends most of its time playing “catch up” and not “catch me”?

The bottleneck preventing IT and business from aligning is your turtle-crawling ERP system. Why do we have two sets of standards - one for mobile and another for ERP? Just imagine your company’s profits if your ERP system ran like your mobile devices!

In a perfect world, IT are the rebels pushing the nerdy business side to innovate and not the other way around. Have you ever seen that happen? We all have. “IT leading the way” is the definition of successful high tech companies.

80/20 Spending Should Be 20/80!

When 80 per cent of your budget goes to maintenance and 20 per cent to innovation, you’ve got a glass ceiling right above your head - and it’s dropping by the minute.

How can you expect to satisfy the high demands of your board of directors with 20 per cent of your resources? Not gonna happen.

Imagine a person who spends 80 per cent on debt interest and 20 pet cent on living and savings. Not exactly “life in the fast lane.” Every dollar you spend on maintenance is a dollar spent on your past. Innovation is your future.

You need a multi-year plan to flip the coin and head towards 20 per cent maintenance spending and 80 per cent innovation. He who innovates more wins. Got it?

Big Data is No Longer Just an Option

Big data is the past and present. If you ain’t got a past, you ain’t got a future.

Big data is no longer a checklist item to “try to do next quarter”. Your competitors are harnessing big data that pertains to your shared market and your organisation.

The first thing you should say when you wake up and pour a cup of coffee is, “Where will big data lead me today?”

Big data is like a rodeo bull. At first, it pulls you all over the field. Aspire to become a “Big Data Master” who conquers big data. Lead the big data bull by the horns!

Embrace IT Consumerisation

BYOD is a blessing in disguise for ERP. What happens when the average Joe accesses SAP or Oracle EBS from an iPad? He expects a modern looking UI at the speed of mobile.

Mobile is a contagious disease, and it will eventually spread to ERP.

By allowing your employees to BYOD and make choices, you empower your IT team to raise their expectations with their ERP and SaaS vendors.

IT consumerisation will “trickle up” to the highest levels and facilitate your move from 80/20 to 20/80 and the innovation thing.

The Future is in the Cloud

And finally, the biggest CIO pain of all – promoting and defending the cloud.

The “rocket ship to the cloud” is leaving. Can you afford to be the last one onboard? Do you enjoy installing, updating and maintaining software? Do you aspire to be an expert for every piece of software in your organisation?

Software is So Passé! I can already hear the grumbling - “The cloud isn’t secure,” “the board won’t like it..”

The answer is simple - “Nothing is 100 per cent secure. Get over it or get lost. The cloud is here to stay.” Video killed the radio star and SaaS is doing the same to software.

Secure everything with dual factor authentication and the sky won’t fall. Let the vendor do what they do best, and steer IT towards that 10 letter word - innovation.

Now that you know the CIO’s 7 absolute worst pains and have the recommended cures, take your medicine and move to innovation!

Mati Cohen is CTO of Panaya.