Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently said “I am not a single-issue candidate, and I do not believe we live in a single-issue country.” It’s actually a tag line her competitors will increasingly adopt as we move from personalities to policies in this year’s race.
And the need to juggle multiple balls reminded me of the 2016 CIO magazine State of the CIO report (sub required)
“On the one hand, you are expected to be the driver of enterprise digital transformations. However, on the other hand, you face a wide range of tactical challenges — from defending against increasingly sophisticated and potentially damaging cybersecurity threats to managing mass cloud migrations to leading agile development projects.”
That sentence masks the fiendishly complex task most CIOs face. The two volumes of SAP Nation showcased a wide range of CIOs who are “ring fencing with clouds”, “two-tiering”, using third party maintenance, rethinking networks and data centers and a variety of other moves to reduce their IT burden. And that’s just in SAP World and back office systems. Think of all the other enterprise tech and similar streamlining opportunities.
And when it comes to Digital Transformations, the job is even tougher because there are few clear road maps. For The Digital Enterprise we interviewed a wide range of CIOs who described their roles with smarter products, newer business models, newer go-to-market models, radical shop floor and supply chain rethinking, better leverage of assets and other strategies.
The job gets far tougher when you realize as the report says they directly control only 57% of their enterprise’s technology spend (down from 66% in 2014).
The positive news is in some ways in the spend they do control, CIOs are getting tighter control. More CIOs like David Smoley at AstraZeneca are inverting their internal to outsourced staff mix. And when it comes to smarter products, a number of companies are investing in proprietary software and contract manufacturers who work to their design specs.
Of course, control is too strong a term to use in a world with so many digital breaches. So, the report is pretty sobering when it comes to security issues. 46% of CIOs surveyed reported security as one their top areas of focus, up sharply from 25% two years ago.
Yup, IT is not a “one issue” nation, and good to see CIO compensation and recognition reflect the huge challenges of the job.