Tag Archives: Silicon

Are CIOs up to scratch as communicators?

The CIO’s job is, by definition, all about information. But on a personal level, just how good are IT leaders at communicating? My latest feature for silicon.com investigates:

The clue is in the job title - the CIO’s role is all about information. A great IT leader manages data to create useful intelligence for the business.

Such knowledge is the lifeblood of the organisation. Executives across different lines of business can use up-to-date information to make crucial decisions about internal projects and external customer-facing services.

Malcolm Simpkin, CIO of Aviva, agrees with the sentiment that the IT leader plays a crucial role in helping to create intelligence for the business. The information-aware CIO, he says, is more than simply a necessary executive evil.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

Co-op Financial Services’ Jim Slack discusses social media

The finance sector is famously behind other industries in the use of social media. Co-operative Financial Services IT chief Jim Slack aims to change that situation, as my latest feature for silicon.com shows.

Financial services firms are probably not the first type of business you would think of when it comes to the adoption of social media. In fact, they might be the last.

silicon.com recently reported the suggestion that case law from 1924 prevents finance companies from publicly identifying an individual who has an account with them, which makes responding to customer queries via social media a potential legal minefield.

Other reports regularly suggest banking CIOs have been slow to adopt social media. But Jim Slack, the business leader of IT operations and development at Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), is encouraging his organisation to take a different stance.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

Should CIOs be worried about their next career move?

Does the central role of information in every organisation make the CIO utterly indispensable or merely a spectator in the democratisation of data? Here’s my latest analysis for silicon.com:

It is one of the oldest gags in IT leadership. Rather than chief information officer, CIO actually stands for career is over. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The role of the CIO is actually very much alive. Successful IT leaders are eschewing the traditional management of IT operations and instead concentrating on the strategic use of information for the benefit of the business.

Such a strategic role is crucial because of the continued rise of collaborative systems, unstructured data and on-demand technology. Now, more than ever before, the CIO truly is the executive responsible for information – and information is the lifeblood of the successful business in this collaborative and on-demand world.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

CIOs share seven tips for social media strategy

Here is another of my features for silicon.com, which presents advice from technology leaders on creating successful engagement through social technology:

Social networking has become a key medium for interacting with colleagues, contacts and customers. So why are some businesses still scared to let their employees engage?

As many as 48 per cent of companies still ban their staff from accessing social networks at work, according to research from HCL. The survey suggests many executives believe social tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, are too distracting from day-to-day activities.

That perception can be a challenge for modern CIOs who are charged with moderating communication channels, while ensuring the continual flow of information. Below, leading business executives provide seven tips for creating successful engagement through social technology.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

How CIOs are hiring and engaging with staff

Whether blogging about their area of expertise or tweeting about business best practice, more CIOs are choosing to express their views through collaborative technology. Here’s my latest feature for silicon.com about the use of social media by IT leaders:

More senior IT leaders are beginning to dabble in social media and are finding new ways to help the business. So, where will social CIOs go next? Do IT leaders use social media to attract potential employees and do they use collaborative tools to keep new workers engaged?

Kcom Group started to use social media for recruitment in 2010, establishing a Twitter account for potential openings. Dean Branton, director of customer operations and group CIO at the telecoms specialist, said the organisation’s LinkedIn recruitment pages launched earlier this year and are focused on building a network of contacts.

“We have a full recruiter seat on LinkedIn, which allows us to proactively search for candidates, whose information can be imported into a PDF for hiring managers to review,” Branton said. The group’s Kcom recruitment page also provides links to relevant web sites and testimonials from current employees.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

Social networks blur CIOs’ work and outside lives

The consumerisation of IT is pushing social media onto the business agenda and blurring links between CIOs and their external lives, according to my latest feature for silicon.com:

JLT Group CIO Ian Cohen is a social media fan who has encouraging words for IT leaders wondering how to straddle the gap between personal and business identities to make the most of online collaboration tools.

“Try it,” Cohen said. “Give it a go, based on the type of things that interest you. The CIO needs to lead the debate on social media for the chief executive, so it makes sense to develop your position.” Finance CIO Cohen is a prolific user of social media, tweeting about business, football and music from his @coe62 account.

He is also a fan of LinkedIn and Facebook, and has taken steps to test enterprise-ready social tools behind the JLT firewall. When it comes to the divide between business and personal life on social media, Cohen suggests the links between work and external lives are blurring at an executive level.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

How to get providers to buy into your agenda

The days of supplier relationships simply being about establishing a one-to-one partnership seem to be over. The complexity of modern provider relationships requires new approaches, as illustrated by this feature by me for silicon.com on supplier engagement:

People, so the popular adage goes, buy from people. That maxim is particularly true in business IT, where CIOs must first understand line-of-business demands and then create effective relationships with key suppliers to produce anticipated benefits.

But how can CIOs engage with providers to meet those much-desired business outcomes and what type of challenges will need to be overcome? In many cases, the supplier relationship is no longer as simple as the establishment of a one-to-one partnership.

The days of a company outsourcing its IT to a single provider are fast becoming a thing of the past. The total value of contracts worth €20m or more stood at €10.5bn at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, according to outsourcing advisory firm TPI. That total, although significant, represented a 31 per cent drop from the fourth quarter of 2009 figure.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

Social media pushes CIOs and marketing closer together

For CIOs, one thing is certain: the increasing interest in social media means IT leaders now have to spend more time with the marketing executive. Here’s my latest feature for silicon.com, which shows that a successful social strategy requires a confluence of CIO and CMO expertise:

From Facebook pages to Twitter profiles, executives round the board table will be expecting someone in the organisation to establish the organisation’s social-media strategy. While social media provides a means for the chief marketing officer (CMO) to engage with potential customers, it is the CIO who will be expected to provide the technical knowledge to make such digital marketing strategies a business reality.

“I spend more time now with the chief commercial officer, who is responsible to marketing, because of the criticality of social media,” said easyJet CIO Trevor Didcock, when asked whether he has spent more time with the marketing department during the past 12 months.

Didcock recognises the web and social media are crucial, yet he also recognises the business could do more, suggesting that many of his company’s activities – such as advertising on Facebook and recruitment through LinkedIn – are reactive rather than proactive. The answer is a confluence of CIO and CMO expertise.

To read the rest of the feature, please click here.

Cloud security: Why CIOs must tighten their grip

Despite suggestions that the cloud would remove responsibilities from the shoulders of the CIO, the converse now looks to be true – here’s my latest article for silicon.com on the cloud:

“The CIO is dead,” screamed the headline to an article on silicon.com’s sister site, TechRepublic. The story suggested on-demand computing would quickly mean technology purchasing decisionscould be decentralised to line-of-business executives, rather than being made by a dedicated IT department.

Two years later, the cloud remains a work in progress and the management reality behind on-demand IT has hit home. Someone, somewhere simply must be responsible for the policies and strategies associated to the use of the cloud – and that person is still the CIO.

As the executive charged with making the most of internal and external technology resources, the IT chief has to steer the organisation towards secure on-demand computing. And that remains a tricky path.

To read the rest of the article, please click here.

Cloud security risks: Who should carry the can?

The lure of cost savings may be pushing businesses towards the cloud, but who will ultimately balance the financial arguments with the risk factors? Here’s another feature I’ve put together about on-demand computing for silicon.com:

Pressure to look to the cloud, and its potential for cost-effective IT delivery, comes from all areas of the business. But who is more concerned about information security?

Is the CIO the executive who is most anxious about data moving beyond the corporate firewall and into the cloud, or is the finance director more worried about risk?

“There are multiple constituents,” suggests Rebecca Jacoby, global CIO at networking giant Cisco. “By nature, a big part of a CIO’s job is risk management and an understanding of specific security concerns. When it comes to the cloud, security is a real risk and the technology isn’t necessarily at the right level for most organisations at the moment.”

To read the rest of the feature, click here.