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Six predictions for CIOs

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ISACA international vice president Robert Stroud, CGEIT, says CIOs should prepare for the following in 2011 and 2012. These predictions are adapted from his presentation at the 2011 ISACA EuroCACS conference in Manchester, UK.


Prediction 1: Cloud computing is here to stay and will become business as usual.


Do I mean that you will dump your IT and toss it all to the cloud? No. 2011 will see enterprises leverage cloud computing or cloud computing behaviors to change the way they deliver IT. Primarily, decisions will be taken to build cloud services internally and supplement this with public cloud for non-core activities.


I spoke with the CIO of a large financial organization recently and he shared with me that in his organization, IT had only recently identified that the business had hired programming staff to develop on and Microsoft Azure platforms! The IT organization was stunned but should not have been as the business has been asking for agility for some time.


Prediction 2:  Virtualization will be a catalyst that drives IT modernization.


Do you recall when a new server took weeks or months to have on the floor and up and running? Almost every CIO I speak with has commenced or is about to embark on a project to leverage virtualization. Virtualization of the Intel server estate in most organizations is complete, and now enterprises are embarking on virtual desktops (better defined as virtual workspaces) and virtual networks—in fact, virtual everything.


Prediction 3:  IT operations become service-centric and business value-focused, rather than process-driven and reactive.


There is no doubt that business demand of IT-enabled investments is rapidly outpacing the ability for IT to deliver within current budgets at current resource levels. In the post-recession era, the business is looking for agility to deliver new products and services, and the usage of information is rapidly growing. This is leading to the rise of the service catalog.


Prediction 4:  Risk management will become the friend, rather than the enemy, of the CIO.


This one is simple. I'm predicting that more and more CIOs will start automating IT risk management processes. The time has come to make the shift.


Risk is part of everyday life. Just think about crossing the road, for example. You have multiple choices of where to cross and there are risks associated with each option. For instance you could cross at the traffic light at the appropriate time, or you could run across a busy freeway without looking for traffic. Based on the environment and the opportunity, you may modify the behavior or choose not to accept the risk.


The fundamental challenge is that IT often looks to mitigate all risks, rather than making a determination of the appropriate response to risk. In 2011/2012 with the increasing rate of change, additional sources of service delivery and increasingly complex service delivery chains are going to require the automation of risk assessment to understand when to accept the risks for competitive advantage and when to mitigate them.


Prediction 5:  CIOs will automate everything, everwhere!


Maybe I should have made this prediction number one, especially in this continuing financially constrained economy. The level of automation in the distributed environment has been absolutely phenomenal over the past few years with the economic downturn.


This includes technologies such as client side virtualization (we have had this on the mainframe forever), the growing demand for technology on tap and the rash of servers being virtualized. For 2011/12, the new frontier will be virtualization of networks, storage and, my favorite, the workspace. Virtualization is only one part; the key value is in automation and the removal of the human element from normal situations, allowing employees to be allocated to meaningful work such as innovation.


Prediction 6: The CIO role will transition from managing operations to managing IT as a service value chain.


This transition will require IT to weave together and optimize the complex network of partners that make up the service value chain to best support various customers to enable business. These operational changes will allow the CIO to be agile and allow delivery based on demand at the most cost-effective rate. With the operational aspects in place, the CIO will also need to move quickly and reorganize to ensure that IT can drive and deliver innovation to the business.


In fact, prediction six (and this is the most transformational prediction) is that the role of the CIO will transition to that of the Chief Innovation Officer. The Chief Innovation Officer will have a team that will partner directly with the business to deeply comprehend the business strategy, partnering to deliver solutions rapidly to the business to exploit the market opportunities.


To read more about these predictions, visit my blog in the CA Community. I welcome your predictions in the comments section below!


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