Oh I See! Getting CIOs to view their jobs from a different angle

Aug 7 2012   12:01AM GMT

The new MPLS networks

Arun Gupta Arun Gupta Profile: Arun Gupta

In the monsoon season, clouds are a good subject to discuss. The last event I attended headlined clouds of all types; public, private, hybrid, that had everyone exchanging notes on experiences in drought and rain.

Participants from public sector and government agencies, companies–big and small, service providers, and a few academics, all found something to talk about and share. The organizers were beaming and so were the participants; networking at its best, which most events promise.

There were a few small groups that decided not to move out of the conference hall during the breaks finding comfort in each other’s company. It was evident that they were not at ease in reaching out to strangers and discussing subjects of mutual interest. Our IT teams have many such people who lack the social niceties and behaviors that are normal in, say, the marketing team. Such individuals are present on social networking sites albeit as silent observers rarely posting or sharing anything at all.

Importance of soft skills

Over so many years I have wrenched such individuals from my teams from their machines and pushed them into the big bad world of people who are unpredictable, emotional, talkative, demanding, lively, aggressive, and overall human in their demeanor. The above-mentioned IT folks cringe at the thought, but slowly and steadily open up and realize that it is not so bad after all. Most are able to transition over the boundary into the normal, the rare few who do not constitute groups like the one I saw.

In a hyper-competitive world that demands higher performance every day to stay in the same place, the balance between soft skills and domain (or technical) expertise is important. Everyone talks about the traits CIOs need to embrace; the teams are left to fend for themselves, and in most cases, at the mercy of the individual CIO to elevate the level at which the IT team operates. Successful CIOs who nurture talent and high potential performers invest in their teams giving them the platform and reason to grow.

Drawing a parallel
So what has all this got to do with MPLS networks? By definition MPLS networks were defined to create efficiency over existing networks in the mid-90s. With evolution they became the preferred option for many. Network administrators loved them for reliability and performance; they hated the opacity by virtue of the cloud architecture. It was big evolution for many and most techies adapted well. This is evident from the fact that most enterprises embrace MPLS over other network types.

In the real world of people, recent times have seen disruptive changes due to social networks. It has had the world excited, the marketing teams worried, and everyone wondering on whether there is a ROI in social network. Consultants have thrived and definitely made some money. It cannot be denied that Most People Love Social Networks. They provide freedom of expression in a level world. IT organizations clamped down with security concerns. Now, social media policies have replaced dictatorial censorship.

Taking the lead
Some mature companies have seen their CIOs take lead in this arena and drive social media strategy successfully and a few also found a way to make money. These CIOs and IT teams belonged to the MPLS network groups, did not talk about old paradigms like BITA, had higher success in customer engagement and continue to be the envy of the world at large.

I believe that MPLS is the way forward for everyone. IT has to lead from the front and not follow in the back. Where are you today? Part of the MPLS gang?

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