Global CIO: The Top 10 CIO Issues For 2010

For CIOs, 2010 will require new emphases on customers, revenue, external information, and a passion for rapid change.
5) Business Analytics and Predictive Analytics. Money is tighter, customers are more fickle, cycles are shorter, opportunities come and go more quicklyin 2010 and beyond, "speed kills" will be more accurate than ever. Your organization is probably awash in datamountains of it, probablybut is there a corresponding volume of insightful information? And out of all that insight, are you able to gain advantage through foresight? Can you see around the corners and over the horizon? Or do you just arrive there and hope that what you've got matches what's needed in those unseen precincts? Business analytics and in particular predictive analytics will become enormously important in 2010, and CIOs who seize the initiative in turning insights into actionable foresights will have a huge advantage.

6) External Information vs. Internal Information. This one complements #5 and Predictive Analytics and also links in with all of the above issues because the basic premise is that what is going on in the world outside your four walls is a lot more important than what's going on on the inside. What are customers saying about you? Do they feel they have an ongoing engagement with you or do you only get their business occasionally out of some quirky coincidence? You know customers are talking about you: do you encourage that? Do you talk back? Do you listen? And if you don't, how can you expect that your company will be able to meet the expectations of those customers with the new products and services that need to carry your company into the future? Social media is the core idea here but customer engagement on all levels is paramount for the Global CIO 2010 Agenda. In the past, we could probably get away with thinking, "Eh, that's someone else's job, and I'm busy enough as is." But that thinking will be deadly in 2010, because that type of thinking will result in your job becoming "someone else's job."

7) CIO Priorities, CIO Compensation, CIO Evaluation. As I wrote a few months ago in Global CIO: Welcome To The CIO Revolution: A New IT Manifesto: "How are you paid? Not how well, but how? Does your comp package map to your old job that you're at least tired of and perhaps sick of, or does it reflect the new firebrand-type CIO role you want to have with growth and customers and market-centric innovation as the key driver? If your pay is based on counting PCs and functioning in essence as the CFO's assistant, then how will you be able to focus on emerging market opportunities? . . . . How does your boss measure your performance? Are you being judged by plumbing-style metrics such as uptime, line-item budget compliance, SLAs, and headcount, or is your performance calibrated on new capabilities you've given to key sales teams, process breakthroughs you've made with key customers, tech innovations you've identified by finding great but little-known and hungry IT vendors, and business-driven reports you've created to show ROI on IT investments? If you're paid to monitor servers and steer clear of customers, how are you going to ever be regarded as anything other than a tactical cost center?

8) Vendor Consolidation, With Radical Exceptions For the past couple of years, every CIO's been whittling down the number of vendors he or she works with. But while the whittling might have helped with efficiency, has it helped with innovation? Have you stayed connected with some mildly on-the-fringe tech vendors whose solutions are out of the mainstream but just might, accordingly, be exactly what you need to make a breakthrough? As with cloud computing a year or two ago, what's your policy on tests and evaluationsare you keeping enough of an open mind so that you're ready to pounce on if the tests run well? Or are you going to be happy with waiting until your industry reaches some manner of informal consensus and then hope you can be a fast follower? I don't mean to keep sounding like the head sales guy for an undertaker, but that type of fast following could well mean you'll be asked to do a fast exit from your position sometime mid-year.

9) The Mobile Enterprise and The Mobile Mindset. Quick--name one business or industry that's not heavily dependent on ubiquitous access to information: can you name any? I don't think so. But let's look at it another way: if a team of your peers and your customers and your competitors' were to do a day-long review of your company's mobile capabilities, would you be eager to share the results with your boss? Or would you, well, have to resort to blaming your tight budget, or try to shift the subject to the latest developments with CDMA technology, or would you perhaps try to persuade your CEO that, after all, mobile information and mobile engagement just really isn't all it's cracked up to be? Heck, The Who nailed it almost 40 years ago in Goin' Mobile: "Out in the woods/Or in the city/It's all the same to me/When I'm drivin' free/The world's my home/When I'm mobile."

10) The Transformation Quotient. When the economy turns, CIOs need to be out in front with ideas and leadership on how their companies can aggressively and successfully tap into the new opportunities that await. Lots of companies are looking at this as transformative efforts that allow them to become what they need to be instead of merely perpetuating what they have been: new products and new partnerships, new sales channels and new levels of co-creation with customers, not ways of finding and analyzing data and new ways of using information for true competitive advantage. In many cases, old-school CIOs have been impediments and have been removed because they sought to cling to the past instead of embracing whatever the future would bring: certainly a lot of uncertainty but also new responsibilities, new outlooks, new ways of thinking, and a complete shedding of old conventions and old restrictions about what a CIO's responsibilities are and what they are not. In 2010, we won't determine those internally any morerather, they'll be shaped in large part by the forces of the market and the forces of competition, and also, we hope, by the forces of brilliantly conceived and sharply executed business-technology innovation predicated not on the past but rather on what, today and tomorrow, will excite and delight customers.

Buckle up tight, folks2010 promises to be quite a ride! And all of us here at InformationWeek's Global CIO thank you for letting us come along for that ridewe'll do our best to warn you ahead of time of hairpin turns and the like. In the meantime, we wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a joyous, healthy, and very Happy New Year!

Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO, or write to Bob at [email protected].

Editors' Choice
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer, Dark Reading
Kelly Jackson Higgins 2, Editor-in-Chief, Dark Reading