Are you ready for the Next Big Thing?

Published in Computing

CIO’s must learn to embrace so-called disruptive technologies and use them to their advantage

With more than 90 per cent of corporate processes now automated, the pressure on CIOs has never been greater. On the one hand they must guarantee a reliable front- and back-office IT environment; on the other they must harness the disruptive new technologies that are driving new business practices.

Classic issues such as IT governance, data security, end-to-end processing, improving price/performance and lower cost of ownership are among the top issues that perennially keep CIOs up at night. But they are becoming increasingly preoccupied with the next big thing and how to take advantage of it, knowing they cannot afford to ignore it.

Disruptive technology is not new: the PC displaced the typewriter and email eclipsed the fax. But it’s the speed of change that is going quantum. The cloud, social media – what do they really mean? While CIOs must avoid making costly mistakes by merely jumping on the bandwagon, they also can not afford to ignore these technology trends at the risk of being left behind.

Take cloud services. It’s no longer about if or when, but about how one adopts a cloud strategy. CIOs are struggling to cut through the noise and address best-practice data security, the cost/performance implications of converging private clouds, whether to migrate to a public or private cloud, and differentiating between the latter and infrastructure-as-a-service.

Likewise social networking. Its impact on the B2C market is clear, but its B2B application is less straightforward. The cons: staff distraction, data insecurity and negative PR arising from an employee gripe gone viral. The pros: speedy communications between staff, partners, customers and target market, with efficiency increases in supply chain management and collaborative working. How do corporates assess the risk/reward ratio? How do they measure productivity lost due to personal Facebook time versus time saved messaging colleagues? How do they measure the reputation cost of a negative Tweet?

Having decided to take the leap, how do organisations implement social media? What other applications, systems and workflows are impacted? What additional support is needed for remote working? What change management and educational programmes are required to safeguard sensitive data?

If you are in the midst of wrestling with these questions, luckily others have been there before you and are happy to share their experience.

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