Sep 06 2012

Is the CIO the New IT Supply Manager?

The new technology leader knows when and where to get the tech needed to get the job done

For the past two decades, IT managers have served in an overlord role. Their co-workers were usually ignorant about much of the technology that they used, and they relied on IT managers to equip them with the best and most advanced enterprise tech.

But today, users are more informed and empowered than ever. Trying to maintain absolute control over tech within a company is increasingly becoming a difficult task for IT managers. Between Dropbox syndrome and the use of personal devices in the workplace, IT managers are learning that users can and will work around anyone who gets in their way.

So what’s a CIO or IT manager to do?

Change the way you play the game, that’s what.

Guest writing for GigaOM, EMC’s Ken Oestreich calls for CIOs to embrace a new role: IT supply manager. In his post, he elaborates on how this shift in roles will play out:

  • Functional roles: Shift from building most services from the ground-up, to sourcing services from IaaS/PaaS/SaaS providers. The partial exception being building private clouds.
  • Skill sets: Shift from technologists and functional specialists, to evaluators of services from external vendor sources. More roles will tend to focus on service provider assessment and relations.
  • Consumption model: Shift from limiting and regulating service consumption, to encouraging consumption and accelerating new service adoption to become more competitive. This is consistent with the trend of consumerized IT and BYOD.
  • Operational function: Shift from custom engineering of internal services, to integrating the supply chain of both internal and external services. When looking at the cost, performance, governance and risk profiles of composite services, IT’s model will need to extend outward to an ever-larger ecosystem of external providers.

These news roles and rules might take some getting used to for IT workers and CIOs, but there’s no turning back now.