CIOs: Catalysts for Disruption in the Age of Disruption

June 6, 2014

CIOs need to take immediate, proactive steps to adapt to the changing information technology landscape or risk being outperformed by competitors who jumped on board already.

This is the premise of Charles Araujo's new book The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT Is About to Change. Araujo is the CEO of the IT Transformation Institute.

Adapt or Die?

According to Araujo, an alarming number of businesses are still stuck in what he refers to as the "industrial age." Disruptive technologies are triggering major changes in the contemporary commercial landscapes, and, like the natural world, businesses must adapt or perish.

Araujo says that outside the dot-com world, very few companies are making the necessary changes in a timely manner. To that end, he cites three specific actions that CIOs can take right now to give their companies an edge in the transition to cloud-based computing technologies.

Strategy #1: Plan for the Cloud

Araujo believes that over the coming years, the vast majority of enterprises are going to be outsourcing 80 to 90 percent of theircurrent computing needs. Businesses, therefore, need to adopt network architecture that allows them to quickly and flexibly respond to ongoing technological changes. The cloud offers the ideal solutions, he says.

He also believes that smaller companies are going to be impacted more dramatically than larger ones. This is where the game-changing role of the CIO comes into play. Araujo believes that it will be up to the CIO to lead transitions to the cloud, and that the sooner these transitions are adopted, the better.

Strategy #2: Stop Investing in Infrastructure

Simply, Araujo thinks that making investments in hardware infrastructure is short-sighted and a waste of valuable resources. The rise of cloud computing has made technology far more accessible than ever before-- and for reduced costs.

However, it's not just the cost savings that merit attention. Cloud-based computing strategies help businesses stay competitive. Companies that work within the cloud have superior flexibility and an enhanced ability to adopt new and changing technologies. All of these advantages help them maintain a competitive edge and better respond to the needs of their clients, partners, and customers.

Strategy #3: Look to the Future

Arajuo also urges CIOs to make major investments in the assemblage and development of top-tier information and communications technology teams. These professionals, in turn, must play a leadership role in guiding the company's changing IT strategy.

The IT professionals of the future will need more than just tech skills; they will also require skills in financial management and possess aptitudes for organizational and team management. The rise of the cloud is triggering a shift towards value chains--loosely organized teams that play differing and changing roles within a company.

Diversity Is Key

IT professionals who want to make themselves as marketable as possible in the years ahead should diversify their skill sets. Similarly, Araujo believes that CIOs will become increasingly valued members of their organizations, playing different roles and enjoying higher career ceilings.

"Businesses are being thrust into the new environment, the markets are changing faster than they can predict it," Araujo says. "You need to create an environment that will allow the business to respond in an agile fashion."

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