It’s a well- known fact that the technology world is changing. For example, for many years, across the industry, services were viewed as a ‘bolt on’ to products. If customers purchased a ‘box’, they would also buy some associated maintenance services. As technology has become more complex, there is a heightened appetite for implementation, rather than just traditional support. 

We’ve also seen many of the more ‘mundane’ tasks required to maintain IT health become automated, allowing businesses to free up and redeploy valuable IT resource to focus on innovation.

As well as enabling an organisation to operate more strategically, these shifts also present new opportunities for the CIO – a role which, in itself, has experienced many changes over the last twenty years.

According to CIO Magazine research, the number of CIO’s who serve as strategic business leaders has more than doubled since 2008, while those who operate as tactically focused service providers has dropped by a half. This has all been driven by changes in technology – for example:

  • The explosion in internet devices…from just 1000 internet devices in 1984 to around 50,000,000,000 being predicted for 2020.
  • 4 exabytes of unique information generated in 2012; more than the previous 5000 years combined.

So, what are the new CIO care-abouts?

It’s clear that the CIO faces an ever changing landscape. Influences such as the explosive growth in mobility, the proliferation of devices (BYOD) and the rapid adoption of cloud are all mixed with pressure from the CEO, the need to slash costs, as well as innovate and retain control. While certainly challenging, these elements also present a wealth of opportunity:

  • Align IT and business: Increasingly, the CIO must align IT with business outcomes while supporting more data, more devices, more applications and heightened workloads through a highly connected and intelligent network. Therefore, now, more than ever, the CIO needs to ensure that there is a clear linkage between business and IT, so that the business prioritises and invests in technology that is aligned to its business goals and, therefore, maximizes the full potential of its investment.

The opportunity: With the use of automation and Smart Services, IT becomes a driving force to help the whole organisation focus more strategically to deliver real business results – optimising both IT health and that of the company in its entirety.

  • Focus, and spend more, on innovation: The Gartner graphic below gives an example of the sizing of a CIO’s spending portfolio in the low cost and differentiated business value categories for the next five years. Average spending on initiatives that lower costs is 70 percent in 2012 and is projected to decrease to 50 percent over the next five years. These newly released funds will be redirected to initiatives that grow or transform the business.**   

The opportunity: Services can help companies maintain IT health, but now they play a more crucial role than ever in both extracting more value and lowering the cost of managing the existing infrastructure, laying the foundations for the future and driving self-funded innovation in new areas.

Nick Earle blog post

  • Keep the IT, and the wider, organization running smoothly:  As well as focusing on keeping the business running, the CIO/CTO is traditionally focused on business growth, gaining competitive advantage, increasing productivity and reducing Opex. The Lines of Business (LoB), meanwhile, care about making better business decisions, security and compliance and, above all, maximizing operational efficiency. An increase in the ratio of IT budget being spent on innovation opens up a world of opportunity for CIO’s, allowing them to not only deliver predictable IT performance, but to maximise strategic potential for the business.

The opportunity: Smart Services change the services experience – instead of support and services being reactive, it becomes proactive or even pre-emptive. This pre-emptive real-time support can only be done using software and analytics which, in turn, helps organisations deliver the level of predictable IT performance that increases their operational efficiency and productivity, resolves problems faster, and reduces costs.

So, what should CIOs be looking for from their technology vendors?

  • View them as a business partner, not just a technology supplier
  • Innovation and investment in their partner’s own organization
  • Use of software and analytics to automate business processes

Taking the above into account, and by working together to understand changes in market dynamics and how best to take advantage of them, services play a more strategic role – no longer viewed as a ‘bolt on,’ but a bolt towards the future…

For more information around the benefits of Smart Services for the CIO, click here.  

**[1]Gartner, Inc., Outsourcing Trends 2013: The Nexus of Forces Will Accelerate Managed Services Sourcing Adoption, Frances Karamouzis, January 31, 2013.


Nick Earle

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Services Sales