When James McPartland took on the CIO role at Torchmark Corporation in 2014, he had a big task before him: Show the rest of the business that IT could help drive growth.
Moving Beyond the 'Keep the Lights On' Mentality
Jed Yueh, CEO for Delphix has a warning for CIOs who don't move beyond the "keep the lights on" mentality of the IT world. He believes it's crucial that IT organizations make the best use of their enterprise data assets. In fact, he has two rules that make sense for CIOs who want to not only succeed in their positions, but soar above their competition.
Yueh says, "Data is the currency of the modern datacenter. CIOs run and maintain the applications and supporting IT systems for the business-the internal data bank. Many IT organizations can barely stay afloat, struggling to maintain stability and availability of applications and systems. As a result, they fail to execute on the projects that matter to the business. Those that fail to execute on a timely basis will forever lose ground to their competitors, threatening the future of their businesses as markets evolve and competitors emerge from new quarters (e.g. Honeywell thermostats vs. Nest).
"The rules for IT have changed. Rule number one: today's CIOs need to unlock their data with innovative new technologies like big data and virtualization. Big data technologies and data virtualization platforms help companies collect and make more valuable use of their data currency, which would otherwise be trapped in legacy platforms. It's no longer sufficient to keep your data stuffed in old IT mattresses. Big data can effectively store vast amounts of data. Virtualization provides fast, flexible, and efficient access to data-like a network of ATM machines.
"Rule number two: CIOs need to re-invest their data in projects that accelerate and differentiate their business. With the rise of ubiquitous Internet access and mobile devices, businesses have an unprecedented ability to reach and interact with their customers, employees, and partners. Those who invest their data resources wisely will reap the dividends, expanding faster into international markets or new opportunities, and responding nimbly to regulatory or market changes.
"Those who fail to invest will watch their businesses slowly crumble. IT is the data bank. It needs to be run like a bank. Unlock data with innovative technologies. Reinvest data to accelerate and differentiate the business."
Do you feel that Yueh's advice is accurate? As a CIO for your company, how do you make sure that you go above and beyond the "keep the lights on" mentality?
Scott Koegler is the community manager for Enterprising CIO. He practiced IT as a CIO for 15 years. He also has more than 20 years experience as a technology journalist covering topics ranging from software and services through business strategy. He has written white papers and directed and published video interviews.