It’s an understatement to say that IT has undergone a number of significant changes in recent years. Still, breaking away from the past and into the present requires leaving certain technologies of the past, well, in the past.
The most successful CIOs are masters of managing this change. They know how to evaluate it, assess the risks and rewards, and capitalize on big opportunities while avoiding the pitfalls.
Similarly, they’re also adopting new ways of doing business – cloud computing, as an example – which is elevating IT in general out of a utilitarian role and into a more strategic position in the organization, focused on revenue growth and expansion. What that means is that the most successful CIOs are now known more for their change management and vision-fulfillment skills than their actual technical skills.
Today, we thought we’d kick off a blog series called “The Okta Top 5 List” with the topic of “What CIOs Shouldn't Have to Care About Anymore.” Of course, five is rather limiting, particularly on such a broad topic as this, but this in post, we’ll just stick to five issues that are near and dear to our hearts.
Drumroll, please. The top 5 things that CIOs shouldn't have to care about:
1. Shelfware: CIOs should no longer be saddled with large teams to support a heavy hardware and infrastructure footprint. We’re beyond the days of shelfware and there’s absolutely no reason CIOs should be forking over massive lump sums upfront.
Cloud is a subscription-based model. As such, the interests of any vendor and CIO must be aligned like never before. If the CIO doesn’t deploy it – or see value out of it – they shouldn’t have to pay. That's the basic core tenant of the cloud model that often gets lost in the shuffle. Why would you deal with (and pay for!) shelfware when cloud is an option.
2. Software Upgrades: In the traditional on-premise model, software upgrades were few and far between. That’s the first issue. Secondly, the upgrades (when they occurred) were often massive and left the CIO to deal with implementation and roadblocks, particularly the major ‘forklift’ architecture upgrades, as I like to call them. This means that significant IT projects were devoted to JUST getting the software running regularly – often incurring an expensive professional services contract to make it happen.
With cloud, vendors are regularly providing seamless upgrades with little to no service or maintenance downtime. Plus, for the most part, these latest features are included as part of the service. No need to purchase costly new versions of software, not to mention, install it across entire companies. Well that sounds easy, doesn’t it?
3. Capacity Planning: This one even sounds daunting. It’s also a serious analytical exercise for traditional on-premise systems. Why should CIOs need to put on their calculus hat and figure out peak usage, load per server, fail over, etc.? This process should be much simpler – and require much less brainpower.
With cloud systems, all CIOs need to do to figure out cost is multiply usage (users, usage, data volume, etc.) by cost per unit. With cloud, it’s that simple. Capacity planning should only be a sliver of how a smart CIO is spending their time, with the bulk focused on what’s important – getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Not the calculations behind it.
4 and 5. Transparency and Reliability: These two are invaluable. Vendor transparency is an absolute ‘must’ in this environment and goes hand in hand with reliability.
Vendors today cannot hide behind email, voicemail or their websites – but must be open about how they operate. That means pricing structure, downtime, product upgrade schedules, service level agreements, downtime and maintenance policies, just to name a few. That’s what the cloud is all about: openness. Vendors that don’t prioritize customer communication likely have something to hide. The success of any cloud vendor with any organization should be built on trust – and that’s exactly why we publish the availability of our system online every month.
If you see one missing, feel free to chime in. There are definitely more than five right answers to this query.