TotalCIO

Jul 7 2011   3:44PM GMT

IT business transformation sums up critical CIO role

Christina Torode Christina Torode Profile: Christina Torode

Business transformation and IT transformation no longer are separate items on the enterprise agenda. Now that agenda is all about IT business transformation, as three technology trends work their way into the business processes of many organizations: cloud computing, the consumerization of IT, and Big Data.

These trends are creating a ripple effect that appears to have no end and has consequences that will cause CIOs and IT departments to reinvent their roles.

Cloud computing

As more IT services lend themselves to outsourcing, CIOs and IT groups might find themselves in the role of service brokers. Some experts predict that the majority of business services will be outsourced, pushed by the fact that many services are being bought directly by business units from cloud providers. The result is that IT staff also will move over to work for a given business unit or be retrained — or, yes, be let go.

This might sound to some as though IT departments are being marginalized; but the transfer of commodity business services to the cloud actually opens up an opportunity for IT staff to work more strategically with the business, a goal that has been on the CIO agenda for years.

In any case, IT groups must adapt to the paradigm shift the cloud represents. IT folks I’ve spoken to at recent events, like the Enterprise 2.0 show in Boston, said that IT as a Service, as one attendee called it, is inevitable. Internal IT departments will have to package up their services, price them competitively and make them easy to consume — like cloud services. Although this is happening in some IT organizations already, the problem is that business units aren’t aware these services are available — an important reminder that the IT department must advertise its wares, like any other provider.

Consumerization of IT

It might be a buzzword, but the term consumerization of IT sums up the fact that enterprise employees are forcing their organizations to consider new ways to collaborate. The line between personal use and business use is being blurred by social networking and mobile devices. It will be up to the CIO to foster the use of both platforms — developing useful mobile business apps that go beyond marketing purposes, as well as enterprise collaboration platforms that cater to the social impulse in human nature. Consumerization of IT, however, ultimately will not work in the enterprise unless it is governed in a way that restrains business risks and creates new business opportunities.

Big Data

Yet another buzzword, Big Data is all about harnessing the power of large data sets. The CIO who can figure out how to help the business locate and manage the “right” data sets will be in high demand. As SearchCIO.com Senior News Writer Linda Tucci explains, the CIO job could hinge on taking charge of large data sets: “Whether your company is in a fight for its life or fighting to stay on top, its ability to manage and mine large data sets will be critical to its success,” she writes.

“A lot of business leaders felt that if they just had a little more access to information, they might have averted a problem with the supply chain or sales, or realized sooner that the just-in-time orders they were busy filling were about to dry up,” Gartner Research analyst Yvonne Genovese told Tucci.

SearchCIO.com has been covering these trends and tying them together to outline how they are shaping the future of corporate IT. Next week, we will further explore the trends and factors shaping the new face of IT, as well as the ways the roles within IT are changing.

Let us know what you think about this post; email Christina Torode, News Director.

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