The CIO Reinvented - Page 2

Sep 14, 2006

Mike Scheuerman

The technology industry is beginning to recognize that the basic building blocks of all businesses are essentially the same. They are starting to build applications that can be securely shared by hundreds if not thousands of users.

The new data centers that are being built by the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo and others will become the repository of the business processes and data for hundreds of companies. The CIO in this world is not a technology guru but a businessperson with the problem solving skills to find, deploy and manage the right combination of subscriptions.

The transition from licensed to subscription won’t take place overnight. It’s a like planning a moon shot. There are lots of little tests with successes and failures before you actually go for the moon. The CIO will be pressed to determine when the time is right for his organization to begin migrating to this new paradigm.

There are a couple of indicators that might help to point out when the time has arrived. What are the unique attributes of the company’s offerings? Draw a circle around the technologies and processes that provide competitive advantage and determine what role technology plays in making them unique.

If you can do this then you’ll know that everything outside the circle is probably a commodity and can be gotten from someone else whose expertise is far greater than yours. Why not let them do what they do well and focus your attention on the technology that provides distinctiveness?

The hardest part is understanding how to separate your business processes into distinct pieces. To adapt, CIOs must think like a manufacturing engineer: What are the components that make up the business process engine? Who can you source those pieces from?

Building up the parts lists from vendors you can rely on to deliver a quality product will be challenging and only slightly different from the job the CIO does today. However, that slight difference is going to have an enormous impact down the road. Just like a one-degree adjustment in flight path would make the difference between hitting and missing the moon.

Mike Scheuerman is a partner at B2B CFO CIO, LLC, a nationwide network of partners that specialize in providing CFO, CIO and senior level executive services to growing companies. Mike has more than 25 years experience in strategic business planning and implementation.

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