Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, JP Morgenthal

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0, Security

Cloud Expo: Article

Is There a CIO Inferiority Complex? (Yes and Here’s How to Get Over It)

CIOs who are willing to embrace cloud offerings see the payoffs

It used to be so easy. The company needed more IT infrastructure, so you bought more components, built more technology, and scrambled to keep it all well oiled. Then along came the cloud and the world shifted under your feet - or perhaps more accurately, over your head. Suddenly they wanted you out of the server room and (instead) in the boardroom, assessing the services of cloud computing vendors and discussing the cost benefits of the new technology. And then it's all "strategy this, planning that." But you keep thinking to yourself: What was wrong with the old stuff? And do things really have to change?

If "Internal Trembling" is all that comes to mind at the mention of "IT" nowadays, you're not alone. For the past few years, CIOs have developed an inferiority complex, questioning the very skills that got them where they are now and assessing how they can be useful moving forward. In the worst cases, cloud computing has made flying blind at work a reality, and that can shatter CIOs' confidence. Server rooms, with their friendly racks of IT infrastructure were once so warm, cozy, and inviting. Now everything's cloudy. Adding cloud computing - with its associated outsourcing management responsibility - to the mix when your roster already includes responsibility for managing legacy systems, maintaining uptime, delivering customer service, securing data, ensuring compliance, making mission-critical decisions, and sometimes even getting coffee for the CEO, can be overwhelming.

CIOs can't afford to tremble in the face of cloud offerings. Hesitation and downright avoidance of the cloud can stifle innovation, slow productivity, and prevent businesses from finding ways to significantly reduce costs and improve operational efficiencies.

The fact is, CIOs who are willing to embrace cloud offerings see the payoffs. Consider Ben Guanzon. As CIO at Vancouver Community College in British Columbia, he implemented Software as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions, and saved the college considerable IT costs.

"The internal computing environment was not in a very good state," recalls Guanzon. "We had over 100,000 student email accounts running internally. So I implemented a cloud-based email platform for staff and students." The business case was easy to make from a cost standpoint (the system cost five times more to host internally), but Guanzon had to address a host of concerns around security. "It required a lot of communication around privacy, the USA Patriot Act, and what it all meant. But as a CIO, you have to become an enabler. You have to think about how best to deliver the applications a business requires. It's a very strategic role."

Out with the Old CIO
The CIO of days gone by was hands-on with hardware technology. He or she determined the necessary infrastructure, acquired the tech components, and built the IT architecture. For years the focus has been on avoiding ballooning technology costs and operating within the constraints of aging systems. But being stuck in the server room also meant marginalization in the C-suite.

Today's CIOs don't get the respect they deserve and the accordant responsibility that comes with it. Charged with being more strategic, their focus has moved away from building everything in-house, and toward selecting vendors who offer IT components as a service, integrating new solutions with old legacy systems, and overseeing governance around compliance issues. CIOs now play the role of connectors - bridging the new world with the old, connecting the cloud with the server room.

It's a role that needs to be carried out with confidence, but that's not always how CIOs feel. In fact, many find themselves in a sink-or-swim situation: defending the status quo and protecting legacy systems is a metaphorical life raft. What they really need to do is pick up the oar and paddle over to the executive marina.

Taking a Seat in the C-Suite: How to Strengthen CIO Relevance in a New World
Change is happening at lightning speed, and CIOs have an opportunity to be innovative by finding new solutions to IT problems - solutions that are now usually cloud-based.

This means getting involved in strategic sourcing, managing people instead of machines, and talking financials and risk assessments instead of computer components. In other words, no more cowering in server rooms. Here's your chance to sit at the grown-up table.

For Guanzon, it was an opportunity that led to a bigger role, but it required the confidence to step out of his comfort zone and spearhead something new. "I know a lot of peers and colleagues who have not transformed to deal with the way things are today," he notes.

Being proactive means looking at cloud offerings ranging from Platform as a Service (PaaS), to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and to Software as a Service (SaaS). It must also include consideration of security, data management and privacy, as well as long-term technology implications and planning. For some companies, the solution might be a private cloud; for others, public is the way to go. Still others might opt for a hybrid model. The key is to find a solution that makes sense for your company, instead of jumping on the bandwagon. Guanzon's advice is to start from a user's perspective. "You need to understand what a user is experiencing. Without that link, you're just putting boxes out there."

Once a solution is chosen, CIOs need to be able to identify credible, qualified providers, execute a thorough sourcing process, and select vendors that are compatible from both a tech and business standpoint.

It's high stakes for today's CIOs, but cloud offerings can no longer be ignored. Overcoming the inferiority complex and letting go of old technology means shedding the limitations of existing infrastructure and building something bigger, better, and downright brag-worthy. Because the possibilities of the cloud open your business up to infinite potential, and it's nothing but blue skies with a forecast like that.

Concludes Guanzon, "Hardware is no longer the focus. You can keep on building, but if it doesn't match what people need, it won't be successful."

More Stories By Bart Copeland

As President & CEO of ActiveState Software, Bart Copeland brings more than twenty years of management, finance, and technology business experience to his role. With a passion for technologies that help people lead more productive and enjoyable lives, Bart is currently focused on ActiveState’s private platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering, Stackato. With his vision for PaaS as an enabler to accelerate cloud adoption and value in enterprises, Bart is actively involved in the strategy, roadmap, business development and evangelism of Stackato. Bart is also an active angel investor and serves as a director on a number of other tech companies. He holds an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of British Columbia.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic • Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff hap...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customiz...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + Elasti...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
Cloud services are the newest tool in the arsenal of IT products in the market today. These cloud services integrate process and tools. In order to use these products effectively, organizations must have a good understanding of themselves and their business requirements. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brian Lewis, Principal Architect at Verizon Cloud, will outline key areas of organizational focus, and how to formalize an actionable plan when migrating applications and internal services to...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals,...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has dem...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named "Gold Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic network...
SimpleECM is the only platform to offer a powerful combination of enterprise content management (ECM) services, capture solutions, and third-party business services providing simplified integrations and workflow development for solution providers. SimpleECM is opening the market to businesses of all sizes by reinventing the delivery of ECM services. Our APIs make the development of ECM services simple with the use of familiar technologies for a frictionless integration directly into web applicat...
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic...
Cloudwick, the leading big data DevOps service and solution provider to the Fortune 1000, announced Big Loop, its multi-vendor operations platform. Cloudwick Big Loop creates greater collaboration between Fortune 1000 IT staff, developers and their database management systems as well as big data vendors. This allows customers to comprehensively manage and oversee their entire infrastructure, which leads to more successful production cluster operations, and scale-out. Cloudwick Big Loop supports ...
To manage complex web services with lots of calls to the cloud, many businesses have invested in Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) tools. Together APM and NPM tools are essential aids in improving a business’s infrastructure required to support an effective web experience… but they are missing a critical component – Internet visibility. Internet connectivity has always played a role in customer access to web presence, but in the past few years use...