The days of business as usual are over. Especially for CIOs.
Gone are the days when it was enough to keep the lights on. Or know the ins and outs of server and storage capacity.
Today“™s business realities demand more. Way more. A recent report from KPMG put it best: It“™s no longer about cost cutting for its own sake. It“™s about creating value “” and not just for the end customer.
The CIO of today must answer to a multitude of additional stakeholders: the board, shareholders, trading customers, the business lines. And, more often than not, that answer must encompass a big picture view on everything from social media to supply chain management, cybersecurity to R&D investment.
None of this should come as a surprise to today“™s CIO; unless you“™re living on planet Zog, you know what you need to do. Harder is knowing how to realize what by now has become an endlessly repeated catchphrase: “business-IT alignment.“
Your journey to the “how“ begins here.
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The first step is to do an inventory. Of yourself. And any future CIO prospects you may tap to fill your role one day. That“™s what Bob Fecteau (right) does in his role as sector CIO for BAE Systems.
“Being a CIO is not an IT rite of passage,“ says BAE System“™s sector CIO, Bob Fecteau. “It“™s really about managing the resources of the business “” the second largest investment in a business “” in ways that take you from where you are today to some place in the future that you would like to be,“ says Fecteau.
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Words create worlds. That’s true in life. And it’s true in business.
As vice president of IT Business Partners, Federico Genoese-Zerbi (right) knows all about it. Early in his career, he saw how a seemingly well-intentioned catchphrase “” “internal customers” “” was actually undermining IT teams’ ability to think of themselves as strategic partners.
“If we start referring to internal partners as customers, there“™s a whole customer service mindset that sets in “¦ of being almost order takers,“ says Genoese-Zerbi, whose role is viewed internally as CIO for Boeing“™s Defense, Space, and Security business as well as the Commercial Airplanes business.
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If you“™re in defense contracting, you know: Federal requirements on organizational conflict of interest front continue to transform the sector.
The first to respond was TASC. Last December, the advanced engineering and advisory services firm decoupled from defense giant, Northrop Grumman.
Helping TASC build its own identity, from the ground up, is Barbie Bigelow (right). In May, this long-time industry veteran joined TASC to lead its information strategy.
“It“™s rare to be able to design a new infrastructure, basically on a clean sheet of paper, not jut building on top of a legacy system,“ says TASC CIO Barbie Bigelow.
Build an IT enterprise from a clean sheet of paper “” learn how here
Not too long ago, if you asked around the Beltway, US Investigation Services, Inc., (USIS) was known for one thing: The company that did investigations.
These days tells if not a different story, than certainly a more expansive one. While investigations generates about three-quarters of overall revenue, the corporation has made steady inroads into other prime service areas: training solutions, security services, and information management.
The company“™s overall success entails going beyond the minimum. Especially when it comes to federal compliance requirements. “Even when our customer doesn“™t place a requirement on us, we use the highest standards and rigorously apply them,“ says USIS CIO David Spannare (above, right). “In fact, we go through this same kind of processes on our own systems, following the highest government standards even when it is not required by the government customer.“
Uphold the highest standards, and apply them rigorously “” see how here
For CIOs, it“™s a dreaded statistic: Between 60 and 70 percent of IT budgets typically goes toward the maintenance of current systems “” otherwise known as “keep-the-lights-on spending.“ Less than 30 percent, meanwhile, ever finds its way into new applications development.
It“™s a trend that Robin Johnson (right) was looking to break when he was tapped Dell CIO in January 2009. But first, he set out to challenge a few industry assumptions.
“The term “˜keep the lights on spending“™ implies there“™s nothing you can do about it, it“™s fixed,“ says Dell CIO Robin Johnson. “We re-examined everything.“
That hard-nosed reexamination has paid off. Big time. Dell now devotes a staggering 52 percent of its overall IT budget to new development. This year alone will see an additional $60 to $80 million added onto current savings, bringing the total to $240 million over a two-year period.
Free IT budgets for new applications development “” Four “lessons learned“ from Dell CIO Robin Johnson here
Better, cheaper, faster “” the federal government“™s appetite for each isn“™t slowing down anytime soon.
It“™s something that John George (right) saw coming well ahead of the curve “” and acted on, first, within his own organization. Back in 2006, as CIO of a legacy organization that would come to be known Vangent, George set his sights on a revolutionary upgrade to the company“™s IT systems, leveraging virtualization and cloud computing at a time when each was still making its way onto the IT scene. After just six months, George“™s team (and he is quick to emphasize the team) delivered the end result: a brand new business infrastructure built, in large part, upon a private cloud.
“A private cloud translates into lower costs for our customers and delivered services,“ says Vangent CIO John George. “That“™s really been our focus, getting our costs down through use of cloud-based technologies and allowing our customers to take advantage of that.“
New innovations, like the cloud, will lead the way “” what’s next in cloud innovation here
In the world of CIOs, just about everybody talks about IT standardization. In the case of Bernie McVey (right), CIO at defense industry giant Northrop Grumman, it“™s just a prelude to something larger: greater transparency into the cost of IT services.
“I think an important strategic enabler, going forward, is to get a consumption-based chargeback model in place,“ says Nothrop Grumman CIO Bernie McVey.
That “consumption-based“ approach comes with the following perspective, he adds. “If I consume more, I should pay more; if I consume less, I should pay less “” that“™s the model I want to get to.“
McVey“™s work in that area is something others can take a cue from. For many CIOs, the ability to tally, manage, and communicate the cost of IT services is an uphill battle. A recent survey of CIOs at mid- to large firms found a wide gap between the ability to track and understand how much it costs to deliver IT services to the business “” only 12 percent of IT costs, in fact, are billed back on modern accounting principles, the survey found. That inefficiency, coupled with a rise in new reporting requirements and fixed-price contracts on the part of government customers, will spell a perfect storm for the unprepared. McVey doesn“™t intend to be one of them.
Consumption-based chargeback model “” a more efficient IT organization starts here
Reports come across a CIO“™s desk every day. One in particular caught Mark Ives“™ eye.
It was from a security professional at another organization. The report told of a cyber attack that had been identified but which continued for several hours within the company “” all because different departments were responsible for individual aspects of analysis and response to the attack. That was one scenario that Mark Ives (right) never wanted to see occur within his own organization, Alion Science and Technology Corporation.
And so, Ives began an ambitious new program within his own organization. Developed this year, the program “” Alion Cyber Warrior Training, as it“™s known “” is still in its preliminary stages, but this much is clear: It goes beyond the typical approach to cybersecurity training found at many corporations to stress an end-to-end philosophy on combating cyber attacks.
End-to-end approach to cybersecurity “” your organization gets cyber-smart here
They“™re coming. A new generation of workers. And SRA International“™s Brian Michl (right) is gearing up to create the kind of environment that meets their needs.
It“™s an enterprise in which mobile devices that support texting and video will supersede standard infrastructure computers, networks, and phones.
“When you think about the millennium generation, coming forward, they“™re going to expect that kind of real-time rich access to systems,“ says SRA CIO Brian Michl.
“My challenge as a CIO,“ he adds, “is to migrate our systems and service offerings to support those capabilities, support those incoming workforces, and do so securely.“
Clearly, not a simple task but one which Michl and his team are excited about. “And one,“ he adds, “that we feel we“™re well-positioned to attack.“ Thanks, in large part, to a long view approach.