You have to feel sorry for CIOs. Once they were technological masters of all they surveyed. Now the story is very different. Cloud computing has democratized a company’s IT policy. So how do you make sure a CIO is still part of the team?
Well, maybe that’s a question that makes you answer “they shouldn’t be”. One of the factors that has been highlighted as a real benefit of cloud computing is it’s cost-saving ability. As well as reducing server costs – you don’t need a physical server taking up space in your office if you’re using Exchange Hosting, for example, it’s offsite – think about staffing; cloud computing reduces the need for on-site IT staff.
Yet even if you don’t need someone in charge of your onsite server anymore you still need someone who’s in charge of your IT strategy. Interweaving new developments and best practice into the work you’re doing helps to keep you one step ahead of the competition; it helps you stay flexible, makes it easy to react when you need to and helps you keep costs down for clients.
A CIO though, should not be developing a technology strategy without talking to other members of the team. There’s a balance between focusing on new technology that will have a benefit and that which will just drain time and resources.
Employees are going to have a strong idea of the new technology they want to be able to use. It might be social media or enabling platforms for sharing material like Google Drive or DropBox. They might not be right for the company, you might want to go for something that isn’t open source like SharePoint, but it shows that there is a desire within the staff to try out new consumer-facing technology. The biggest step for the adoption of Cloud Computing within a firm is the sea-change in attitude and approach that it fosters. If staff are leading that change then their enthusiasm shouldn’t be thwarted by someone worried about their own authority and position.
More than ever before, CIOs need to hand over the reins a little. They might lose credibility and control if they dismiss every suggestion that’s made to them. Clearly they will still need to have a leading role but the Cloud is much more about collaboration than dictating what technology a company is going to use.
The role of the CIO has changed within a company thanks to Cloud Computing. To stay one step ahead they need to embrace that their colleagues will have suggestions and ideas about the technology they want to use in their day to day working practice. Not every suggestion will be right, but it makes it much easier to sell the approach of collaborative cloud working if the CIO is responding to input from their colleagues.