The CIO role is changing - are you a Business Enabler?

According to Claudio Castelli, a Senior Analyst at Ovum Research, the role of the CIO is changing and becoming increasingly that of a business enabler with a remit of solving business problems and changing user behaviours. It's critical to respond positively to the BYOD challenge - the danger of being "anti-proliferation" of consumer devices in the workplace is that this can also be seen as "anti-innovation".
The reasons Castelli sees end users adopting and driving the BYOD model is straightforward:
  • They want to pick the best tool for the job
  • They don't want to carry piles of devices around
  • Consumer apps are often better designed and easier to use.
This makes the provision of enterprise apps more challenging in a BYOD environment, and some of the issues that need to be addressed are controlling costs, defining the line between personal and corporate data, managing a proliferation of different end devices and how corporate apps are provisioned (for example, an enterprise "app store").Allan Davies, CIO at Dematic who's deployed BYOD, also sees challenges in separating the emotion from the logic. To purchase a new low-end server, Davies would need to show an ROI and seek CFO approval. But when you're talking about an iPad - there's no ROI discussion... After sending an email out on a Friday afternoon asking a group of peers around the world "Can any CIO around the world give me usable ROI model for an iPad in the enterprise?" Davies said "I wish I never sent that email. I think I turned off my phone at 1am on Saturday morning because it wouldn't stop buzzing." But there wasn't one CIO that could give Davies a workable ROI model: "It's emotional. We need it. We want it. Just give it to us".

So, if consumerisation is the driver for workplace transformation, how does the CIO enable and support this? Ross Dawson, a well known futurist, entrepreneur and strategy advisor sees IT at the heart of the strategy. A "fluid, connected IT architecture" is required to enable BYOD and support one of the biggest trends that we are right in the middle of: the shift of power from organisations to individuals.

CIOs need to think about a governance model for this transformation, and Dawson urges CIOs to consider:

  • The benefits and risks of change - but equally importantly the risks of not taking action (which means becoming irrelevant)
  • Allowing the organisation to transform itself - blocking this change is highly value-destroying.
  • Attracting the talent required to implement the changes required in IT.

After Davies reflected on the lessons of Dematic's BYOD roll-out, (which has now become global,) the organisation needed to become more risk tolerant, clearly define stakeholder engagement and better understand end-user preferences. The CIO played a proactive role in enabling consumer devices, implementing the appropriate technologies (in particular mobile device management), defining a deployment model and providing constant communications and IT support for staff. "It makes us an attractive organisation for employees. The future of our organisation is Gen Y. We have to move forward."

How effective are you as a business enabler? Consider measuring the rise of "shadow IT" in your organisation (i.e. non-sanctioned or non-corporate apps within your organisation). As Dawson concludes, the size of shadow IT is determined by how much CIOs are enabling employees.

Claudio Castelli, Ross Dawson and Allan Davies spoke at a business briefing hosted by CIO Magazine.
For more information on BYOD and Logicalis' Virtual Workspace that support Bring Your Own Device policies, please visit

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