Discover Performance Blog

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The CIO’s new role: service broker

the CIOs new role.jpg


By Keith Macbeath


Imagine you’re a business process owner who needs an IT service. You now have to choose between SaaS and a traditional provider—whether internal or outsourced. If you do choose SaaS, your traditional infrastructure team is out of the picture. Now, there is literally a marketplace where the application team who serves you has to compete with external SaaS providers. The CIO faces a key decision: When to step into that service broker role and how to do it in such a way that department heads trust that it’s the right decision, regardless of whether it adds budget or headcount.  

Labels: CIO

Message for CIOs: Lead or get out of the way

Joel Dobbs.GIFIT’s job is to minimize risk.

IT’s job is to maintain infrastructure.

IT’s job is to push back when the rest of the company asks for anything not directly related to the previous 2 goals.

– Ian Lurie


I recently had a conversation with a young executive who manages internet marketing for a large conglomerate. He was frustrated with the company’s CIO, and their IT department, who seem to have defined their primary role as saying no.  A few days after our conversation he e-mailed me a blog titled IT Department Wrecking Internet Marketing? It’s Your Fault, from which the quote above is taken.

Labels: CIO

What’s the value of IT? A CIO and CFO face off in a Discover Performance webcast

conference room.jpgWhat does IT have to do to prove its value to finance? Why doesn’t finance “get” IT? To settle this ongoing debate we decided to get a CIO and a CFO in a room and … well, we’ll step in before anyone gets hurt. 


We’re excited to invite readers to “CIOs and CFOs: Can this relationship be saved?” the first Discover Performance webcast in a series of discussions about IT strategy and performance. To kick things off, we’ve brought two seasoned executives together to talk frankly about IT value and how the relationship between IT and the business is changing.

Labels: CIO

CIOs and IT leaders must learn to pivot in order to survive

Joel Dobbs.GIFGuest post by Joel H. Dobbs


Joel H. Dobbs is the CEO and President of The Compass Talent Management Group LLC (CTMG), a consulting firm that assists organizations with the identification and development of key talent and with designing organizational strategies and structures to maximize their ability to compete in the business worlds of today and tomorrow. He is also an executive coach and serves as Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Business.  Joel is also a popular and frequent contributor to the Executive CIO Forum where a version of this article was first published.
“IT in 2015 will bear little resemblance to its current state. Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated with other central functions such as HR and finance, or be externally sourced. Fewer than 25% of employees currently within IT will remain in that unit as the function is unbundled.” --Shvetank Shah and Matthew Charlet, Corporate Executive Board, Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2012
Recently I wrote about the future of the CIO role in a post entitled What leading CIOs think tomorrow’s CIOs will look like where I speculated that the CIO role will bifurcate into two paths.  On one path the role grows and matures into what is essentially a divisional president role with P&L responsibilities and a span of control that includes more than just IT.  The other path is a regression to the “data processing manager” role of the 1970s where operations and basic infrastructure constitute the totality of the role and the position reports further down in the organization.


Labels: CIO

Is today’s CIO really just another supply chain manager?

charlesbetz.jpgBy Charlie Betz


One of the big questions facing the industry right now gets to a fundamental issue of IT’s identity: In this age of cloud computing and SaaS, is IT merely a supply chain and sourcing problem?


There’s a lot that’s been said about the relative immaturity of IT management when you compare IT to other industrial and manufacturing disciplines (I’ve made my own contribution to the debate here). Today IT can no longer afford to be a handcrafted, artisanal pursuit. The efficiencies to be found in the cloud make sure of that.


As CIOs transform themselves into service brokers, we start to move very fast down the road of saying that IT is just complex contract and sourcing management. In effect, IT becomes another category in the supply chain. (And maybe this is why we currently see some CIOs reporting to the CFO, like other supply chain managers). I’ve even come across someone who was billing themselves as the IT category specialist in their supply chain organization, which is really interesting to me. And it’s got me thinking: If we simply say that IT is just a category in sourcing and vendor management, that’s provocative. But where does that get us?


Labels: CIO
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