As IT leaders around the world pursue year-end activities, finalize growth targets, align completed tasks with strategic goals and close new tech purchases, they may be forgiven for developing sleep disorders. Disruption in the way modern organizations consume technology is turning the processes of selection, procurement and funding of technology upside-down. And while change is perhaps the constant in the CIO world, what’s in store for 2018? What will be keeping the CIO from getting a solid night’s sleep? 

Tectonic shift in spending power

Industry analysts are predicting the shift in technology spending power from IT to business units experienced over the past few years will accelerate. This shift is being fueled by mobile adoption and subscription models – IaaS, SaaS and PaaS – which simplify technology adoption for business units. Involving the IT team or CIO in tech decisions is no longer a given, which leaves the CIO in the unfortunate position of being accountable without insight.

The CIO remains the board’s first point of reference to answer why technology spend continues to rise. But, as business units make SaaS and IaaS purchases, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the CIO to create that vital overview of what assets are being purchased and how and why they are being consumed.

To address this issue, CIOs increasingly rely on solutions that provide visibility and analytics of technology consumption. And as the IT landscape evolves, it is vital that these technologies develop accordingly, to not only provide visibility of the physical and virtual assets inside the enterprise, but also software and hardware consumption in the cloud. It is these solutions that will enable CIOs to report on technology consumption, scrutinize it, and fulfil their obligation to be the guardian of technology spend.

Enforced shift to cloud

Software audits are very much alive. But vendors are changing their goals in pursuing audits. Whereas previously they sought to generate revenue through compliance fines, in the coming year, vendors will use audit findings to push customers onto their latest cloud offerings and subscription licensing plans.

To make a qualified decision on whether moving to the cloud is the right choice, CIOs need full visibility of their hardware and software costs. SaaS and IaaS service providers deliberately make their initial cloud costs look appealing with one-click procurement processes. But, armed with an organizational-wide understanding of ongoing obligations for on-premise systems, CIOs will be well informed to determine, case by case, whether the cloud is the right way to go.

Shift in role

The swing in spending power, coupled with the need to innovate to bring new products and services to market, are some of the factors causing a shift in roles of the CIO and IT teams.

The primary responsibility of IT is becoming less about building and delivering technology to the rest of the organization, and more about enabling the business to select and procure the right technologies.

IT leaders that fail to adapt are likely to suffer countless sleepless nights. The innovative CIO, however, will be able to identify how to work with business units, and how to transform from being perceived as the ‘head of IT’ to being the broker of technology services. Leading CIOs of 2018 will harmonize business goals with technology needs, and exploit new technologies without overspending or exposing the wider organization to risk. In short, becoming the closest ally of the CEO and CFO.

As the quarter ends, the time is ripe for finalizing strategies to address the shift in spend from IT to business units, assess cloud transformation projects, and ensure awareness of technology choices across the business. The common denominator of any strategy is intelligence. By gaining a complete understanding of what’s happening across the technology estate, you will ensure you are the most well-informed person regarding technology spend and consumption, putting you in pole position to provide value to the board, support to business units, insight to fellow C-level execs, seamless experiences for users, and, last but not least, a good night’s sleep.

To explore how the adoption of technology to manage the development process is lagging and how Best-in-Class companies are stepping up, check out this comprehensive research report by Aberdeen’s Mike Caton.

Tim Jesser is Director of Global Product Marketing at Snow Software.


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