CIO dream team: Who’s in and why?

By | 4 minute read | October 3, 2019

Today’s CIO navigates the twin challenges of enabling new business models and managing rapid technological change. Cloud computing strategies are now table stakes.

CIOs must make complex decisions about using public and private clouds, on-premises enterprise systems, Internet of Things, edge computing, and many other user experience outlets. Cloud-enabled digital transformation can’t happen without the right team in place.

Whom do you draft to build the dream team who can pull all this off?

Here are my picks:

Draft pick 1: Chief Executive Officer

This is your team captain. The buck stops at the CEO when it comes to operational and financial targets. The CEO’s job is to set the tone and build consensus.

They’ll need an unwavering dedication to business transformation and the will and drive to make it a priority across business functions. They’ve got to mandate cooperation and coordination among the various stakeholders within the enterprise.

And because no single cloud service provider (CSP) can ever meet all digital business needs, the CEO will need to help choose what multicloud strategy — and which CSPs — to greenlight.

Draft pick 2: Chief Technology Officer

This is the CEO’s right arm. The CTO builds collaborative support across the IT team. They see the whole field and can lead professional re-education efforts for all your players.

The CTO’s role is to secure containers for continuous integration/continuous delivery, DevOps automation tools and immutable infrastructures. They’ve got to coach infrastructure and operations specialty teams to adapt existing processes to manage, secure and orchestrate containers at scale.

Players at the top of their game will select a tiered CSP system built around relevancy to varying core requirements such as:

  • Transparency and ease of assessment and evaluation
  • Security and reliability
  • Business stability
  • Merger and acquisition potential
  • Acceptability to managers, executives, auditors, regulators and other stakeholders
  • Size of the ecosystem of compatible and integrated components and services

Draft pick 3: Chief Information Security Officer

The CISO is the bad cop to the CTO’s good cop. They establish, monitor and enforce data and information classification policies. Security is their goal and they’ve got to select, deploy and operate controls across the enterprise.

It falls on them to train, educate and lead your business owners in how to manage changing data protection and privacy laws and regulations.

Draft pick 4: Chief Financial Officer

The CFO validates organizational business cases — and often decides what gets funded. This player manages the balancing act between meeting financial targets and managing the cost and risk aspects of cloud-inspired innovations.

Funding for hybrid cloud architecture must meet the needs of on-premises application modernization and strategic integration. That requires the CFO to build support across the executive team. They’ll take the lead on updating accounting practices to support cloud-native subscription models.

Draft pick 5: Business owner

These are often your cloud’s heavy users. If the cloud is going to meet enterprise workloads, your business owners will demand a high cloud quality of service.

They’ll also need to face the fact that status quo won’t stand in a digitally transformed, cloud-first world. And yet your business owners will bear the brunt of the effects of transformation on operational metrics, cost and contractual service levels.

Business owners likely will need coaching to recognize that a simple “lift and shift” migration won’t deliver expected cloud benefits and will likely incur additional costs and risks. Computing has become a hybrid effort of cloud innovation, on-premises application modernization and strategic integration — all of which are increasingly cloud-based or cloud-inspired.

Draft pick 6: Acquisition and procurement executive

This specialty player takes the lead in incorporating tier models into your CSP vendor evaluation process.

Complex risk scenarios that come with enterprise cloud strategies mean that CSP vendor assessment and monitoring should be concentrated in the growing group of midsize CSPs. Some will be strategically important to specific departmental missions.

Acquisition and procurement players shouldn’t spend their time assessing and monitoring the very largest or the very smallest CSPs. And they must be trained to understand the difference between procuring information technology and acquiring information technology services.

Draft pick 7: Legal/contract executive

Legal is your backstop across all other roles. They understand all aspects of organizational requirements and can collaboratively balance the operational and financial trades associated with contractual risks.

Gartner predicts that by 2021, “75% of enterprise customers seeking cloud-managed IaaS and PaaS solutions will require multicloud capabilities.”1 This makes gathering and training your dream team now an absolute imperative.

So start now:

  • Teach them how to stay abreast with information, technology and business innovation by investing in modern technologies and practices.
  • Avoid exclusive commitments to any single provider by embracing multi-platform operations and hybrid integration strategies to retain greater flexibility of choice and innovation.
  • Help business leaders recognize strategic cloud-centric business opportunities by creating IT-business liaison teams.
  • Invest in continuous cross-organization education and process innovation so that your enterprise is cloud-ready.