Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff, Janakiram MSV, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: 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
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
To leverage Continuous Delivery, enterprises must consider impacts that span functional silos, as well as applications that touch older, slower moving components. Managing the many dependencies can cause slowdowns. See how to achieve continuous delivery in the enterprise.
Actian Corporation has announced the latest version of the Actian Vector in Hadoop (VectorH) database, generally available at the end of July. VectorH is based on the same query engine that powers Actian Vector, which recently doubled the TPC-H benchmark record for non-clustered systems at the 3000GB scale factor (see tpc.org/3323). The ability to easily ingest information from different data sources and rapidly develop queries to make better business decisions is becoming increasingly importan...
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
To paraphrase someone famous, "The definition of insanity is to do something the same way over and over again and expect a different result". Humans are creatures of habit and when it comes to storage, old habits die hard. Why do we continue to put our faith in legacy storage providers when they haven't invented anything new in decades. Sure, they re-badge their products every couple of years to make their messaging look modern, but ultimately, it's the same old stuff with a new coat of lipsti...
StarNet Communications Corp has announced the addition of three Secure Remote Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC X server. The new modules enable X-Win32 to safely tunnel the remote desktops from Linux and Unix servers to the user’s PC over encrypted SSH. Traditionally, users of PC X servers deploy the XDMCP protocol to display remote desktop environments such as the Gnome and KDE desktops on Linux servers and the CDE environment on Solaris Unix machines. XDMCP is used primarily on comp...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Aspose.Total for .NET is the most complete package of all file format APIs for .NET as offered by Aspose. It empowers developers to create, edit, render, print and convert between a wide range of popular document formats within any .NET, C#, ASP.NET and VB.NET applications. Aspose compiles all .NET APIs on a daily basis to ensure that it contains the most up to date versions of each of Aspose .NET APIs. If a new .NET API or a new version of existing APIs is released during the subscription peri...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) has announced that NoviFlow Inc.has deployed IxNetwork® to validate the company’s designs and accelerate the delivery of its proven, reliable products. Based in Montréal, NoviFlow Inc. supports network carriers, hyperscale data center operators, and enterprises seeking greater network control and flexibility, network scalability, and the capacity to handle extremely large numbers of flows, while maintaining maximum network performance. To meet these requirements, NoviFlow in...
Enterprises have forever faced challenges surrounding the sharing of their intellectual property. Emerging cloud adoption has made it more compelling for enterprises to digitize their content, making them available over a wide variety of devices across the Internet. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Santosh Ahuja, Director of Architecture at Impiger Technologies, will introduce various mechanisms provided by cloud service providers today to manage and share digital content in a secure manner....
As the world moves toward more DevOps and Microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The Microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...