Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Aruna Ravichandran

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
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busine...
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
First generation hyperconverged solutions have taken the data center by storm, rapidly proliferating in pockets everywhere to provide further consolidation of floor space and workloads. These first generation solutions are not without challenges, however. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Wes Talbert, a Principal Architect and results-driven enterprise sales leader at NetApp, will discuss how the HCI solution of tomorrow will integrate with the public cloud to deliver a quality hybrid cloud e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
Is advanced scheduling in Kubernetes achievable? Yes, however, how do you properly accommodate every real-life scenario that a Kubernetes user might encounter? How do you leverage advanced scheduling techniques to shape and describe each scenario in easy-to-use rules and configurations? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Oleg Chunikhin, CTO at Kublr, will answer these questions and demonstrate techniques for implementing advanced scheduling. For example, using spot instances ...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
The session is centered around the tracing of systems on cloud using technologies like ebpf. The goal is to talk about what this technology is all about and what purpose it serves. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Shashank Jain, Development Architect at SAP, will touch upon concepts of observability in the cloud and also some of the challenges we have. Generally most cloud-based monitoring tools capture details at a very granular level. To troubleshoot problems this might not be good enough.
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busine...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
In the fast-paced advances and popularity in cloud technology, one of the most critical factors revolves around concerns for security of your critical data. How to assure both your company and your customers they can confidently trust and utilize your cloud environment is most often top on the list. There is a method to evaluating and providing security that exceeds conventional modes of protecting data both within the cloud as well externally on mobile and other devices. With the public failure...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
Transforming cloud-based data into a reportable format can be a very expensive, time-intensive and complex operation. As a SaaS platform with more than 30 million global users, Cornerstone OnDemand’s challenge was to create a scalable solution that would improve the time it took customers to access their user data. Our Real-Time Data Warehouse (RTDW) process vastly reduced data time-to-availability from 24 hours to just 10 minutes. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Mark Goldin, Chief Technolo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...