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Marek Swierad, Regional Vice President, Systems, Oracle EECIS
Businesses follow an agenda for progress that’s set by the CEO and implemented by line of business managers. Like the constituent parts of a steam engine, lines of business need to pull together or risk derailing the entire operation. In today’s fast-moving world, pulling together requires the right approach to IT.
Too often line of business managers invest in their own cloud apps and services with little regard to the wider organization. This may meet the immediate requirements of a line of business, but it is a flawed strategy which creates problems both in the immediate term and for the future . The organization can end up with numerous incompatible, independently functioning cloud silos across which it is difficult to share data, and which can duplicate IT infrastructure, creating ‘shadow IT’.
Too often line of business managers invest in their own cloud apps and services with little regard to the wider organization. This may meet the immediate requirements of a line of business, but it is a flawed strategy which creates problems both in the immediate term and for the
Our report, Putting Cultural Transformation at the Heart of Cloud Success (based on a survey of 600 senior IT and line of business decision makers across EMEA), found that 35 percent of IT decision makers said their company was investing in cloud technology it already has, and 32 percent said shadow IT creates complexity with data flows. The two overriding consequences of this are that businesses are not achieving their full potential and the return on investment for IT spending is not being maximized.
Organizations are aware of the problems caused by inefficient use of cloud. Our study found that 95% of respondents working in IT said lines of business departments investing in technology are causing complexity, and 30 percent said they purchase the wrong technologies. If a steam engine was built with these principles it would have pistons that didn’t drive anything and multiple water and steam tanks unconnected to the main unit. A lot of energy might be generated, but it wouldn’t contribute to the engine’s main purpose.
It doesn’t have to be like this, and the CIO holds the key to a more productive and profitable approach to use of cloud across the organization. Their role has two distinct and intertwined aspects, one technological, one cultural.
The CIO is ideally positioned to be the cloud navigator across the organization. In this role, the CIO will be able to deliver an enterprise-wide cloud strategy and ensure collaboration between other C-Level executives such as the CEO, CFO and CHRO, as well as line of business managers. With a mandate from the CEO and by working closely with the CFO, all procurement, cost and risk control, contract management and enterprise cloud strategy should be managed by the CIO so that organizations can make the most of what cloud has to offer.
At a time when the demands on business to move quickly and spend wisely are growing ever greater, the business needs to function as efficiently as a well-oiled and beautifully constructed steam engine. The CIO is an organization’s equivalent of the engine designer, ensuring there are no unnecessary components, and all parts pull their weight.
Another cause for concern is the finding that 37% of respondents to our survey said their organizational culture is not set up to make the most of cloud. This has contributed to almost half of businesses seeing increased integration costs and the creation of data silos as a result of their approach to cloud.
Line of business managers might function as maverick individuals with a degree of legitimacy if there is no single point of contact pulling them together. But given the continued relevance of IT architecture and enterprise grade IT in the cloud era, the CIO can and should be this point of contact, playing the role of strategic visionary and enabler to ensure shared goals remain shared. Working closely with lines of business and the C-Suite, they can take an overview across the whole organization.
This will allow them to understand the different IT needs, fostering a culture of collaboration to develop an enterprise cloud strategy in which workloads can be moved between a mixture of cloud and on-premise resources depending on need, and data and systems are joined together across the organization.
The cloud is the single most important technology resource a business can invest in, and the CIO is the key to ensuring it is used effectively. At a time when the demands on business to move quickly and spend wisely are growing ever greater, the business needs to function as efficiently as a well-oiled and beautifully constructed steam engine. The CIO is an organization’s equivalent of the engine designer, ensuring there are no unnecessary components, and all parts pull their weight . CIOs who take on this unifying role will be pivotal in ensuring a more strategic and cost-efficient cloud strategy is adopted across the business.
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