1. From Functional to Transformational, and Beyond

Breaking down boundaries. That’s the key to CIO success in modern-day business. Boundaries between systems and data. Boundaries between business and IT. Boundaries between the status quo and new mandates for agility and transformation.

How do tech leaders find the right formula to break down these dividing lines? It’s not easy. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of CIOs in the 2017 State of the CIO survey continue to struggle to strike the right balance between business innovation and operational excellence. And 87% find their role to be more challenging than ever, in part because the CIO’s role is actually three roles: functional, transformational, and strategic.

“I want to be where I don’t have to spend a minute of my day thinking about chilled water in my data center. That’s not a strategic use of a CIO’s time in today’s age.”

– Randall Gaboriault,
CIO, Christiana Care Health System

Competitiveness in the Balance

CIOs must continue to oversee traditional responsibilities such as system maintenance and upgrades, negotiating with vendors, and initiating operational improvements. These keep-the-lights-on tasks account for 20% of their agenda, according to the State of the CIO survey. Simultaneously, however, IT leaders are also leading digital transformation efforts and driving strategic initiatives in support of business innovation or competitive differentiation.

87%
of CIOs find their role more challenging than ever

“With limited funds and limited resources, do you spend money on an operational excellence initiative, or on testing out a new technology as part of a digital transformation?” says John DiCamillo, Americas CTO at Arup, a global design and engineering consultancy. “It’s a fine line. But you ultimately need to be forward thinking to make sure you’re driving the future success of the business.”

CIO: One Role, Multiple Responsibilities

CIOs are slowly shifting from a functional role to activities focused on transformation and strategy.
Functional
(i)
/
Transformational
(i)
/
Strategic
(i)
Toggle left and right to create an accurate breakdown of your role.
Functional
(i)
/
Transformational
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/
Strategic
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Your role in 2017:

Functional
Transformational
Strategic

CIOs in 2017:

20% Functional
50% Transformational
31% Strategic

Compare your results to other CIOs





CIO: One Role, Multiple Responsibilities

The graph below shows the transformation of the CIO's role over the last eight years
Functional
(i)
/
Transformational
(i)
/
Strategic
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CEOs are adding to the pressure on CIOs with a mounting set of expectations that similarly straddle strategy and tactics: The C-suite wants CIOs to help increase corporate revenue growth while simultaneously simplifying IT and improving security.

The CEO’s Top 3 Priorities for Their CIO

Help reach revenue growth goals
1
Upgrade IT and data security
2
Simplify IT
3

“All roads to the future run through IT, so I have to run faster than my customers,” says Randall Gaboriault, CIO and SVP of innovation and strategic development at Christiana Care Health System, a health delivery services provider. “If I become a constraint, I become an obstacle, and then I become irrelevant.”

In Search of the ‘Perfect’ IT Environment

What’s the best chance for CIOs to re-establish both stability and relevance for enterprise IT? Savvy CIOs such as Gaboriault and DiCamillo are collaborating with their business counterparts to create a strategic roadmap for Hybrid IT – a combination of traditional IT, managed services, and private and public cloud that is agile and scalable enough to support ever-changing business demands.

All CIOs aspire to create the “perfect” IT environment that optimizes operations and charts a course toward digital transformation. A common misconception, however, is that “perfect” is defined by the cloud. In reality, legacy on-premises systems must remain part of the mix for most organizations because of security concerns, compliance obligations, or the desire to keep mission-critical applications in the data center.

“Without Hybrid IT, you go back to having to choose between two models – either building everything yourself or consuming everything from someone else,” says Craig Partridge, director of Data Center Platform Consulting for HPE Pointnext. “Hybrid IT is the strategy to be able to get the best of both worlds – and it’s fundamental to the digital agenda.”

– Craig Partridge,
Director of Data Center Platform Consulting, HPE Pointnext

The beauty of a Hybrid IT model is the flexibility it provides CIOs to mix and match legacy systems, cutting-edge hyperconverged and composable infrastructures, and software-defined platforms as needed to deliver desired business results. The right mix is very much dependent on your organization’s unique needs. But a successful Hybrid IT model is more than just a means to cost-savings or efficiencies; the proper infrastructure mix accelerates IT’s value by enabling a pace that is commensurate with today’s accelerated business cycles.

Key Play

1. The Shift

Take steps to spend less time on functional tasks and more time on strategic activities
Now

Improving
IT operations
Negotiating
with vendors

Managing costs
Putting
out fires
Next

Driving
business
innovation
Developing
and refining
business
strategy

Identifying
competitive
opportunities
Developing new
go-to-market
strategies and
technologies

Take a Deeper Dive into Hybrid IT

The Strategic CIO’s Playbook

Create a game plan for accelerating digital transformation with the right mix of Hybrid IT.