Business Transformation

Guidance for CIOs: Is Your Technology Strategic or Scattered?

VMware CIO Exchange is your technology strategic?

When I talk to business leaders who need help with their company’s technology challenges, there’s a question I hear frequently: “What’s the difference between the companies that struggle with their technology and the companies that have a high-performing technology organization?”  Of course, for an issue this complex, there can be many contributing factors to consider. However, one of the most crucial things for business leaders to examine about their organizations is whether they are strategic or scattered with their technology. Most leaders don’t intend to be scattered, but it’s unfortunately common in today’s business environment, and the impact can be severe.

What causes a company to become scattered?

With so many cloud technology offerings available these days, it’s easy for silo-focused leaders within a company to sign up for a cloud software without coordinating with their IT organization or other technology initiatives. While that offering may be a fit for their department and seem okay within their “silo,” it may not integrate well with the other technology systems and investments within the company, and it may not be the right fit for the overall company. This issue is compounded when other departments also take this silo approach. Over time, the company’s technologies become more and more scattered.

Cloud solutions can be a great option, but they should fit within the company’s overall strategic technology plan and architecture. The organization must have a strategic technology plan and know in advance how the pieces will fit together. Attempting to retrofit a bunch of disparate technologies after adoption can be very expensive and chaotic.

What are some common signs of a scattered technological organization?

  1. IT costs continue to increase, but IT service and satisfaction decline. 
  2. There is a lack of a comprehensive technology strategy and roadmap. 
  3. The IT organization is not agile and can’t keep up with the pace of the company. 
  4. IT organization is reactive and tend to be “order-takers” instead of strategic leaders and enablers.
  5. Data silos: The reports that executives see don’t paint an accurate, unified picture.
  6. Cybersecurity issues and other potential technology risks: Scattered technologies often inadvertently cause cybersecurity gaps and other lurking threats to the business.

How do you fix it?

Leadership needs to undergo a fundamental shift, a focused effort across the organization about how to service the customer and to meet a complete strategic vision. 

The following are some tips for getting things back on the right track:

An unbiased catalyst

The same people that created the scattered environment aren’t the right ones to diagnose and fix it. You need an independent, unbiased expert to help your company properly assess the current state, help you plan the proper target state, and serve as a catalyst to help your organization execute the proper actions for a timely transformation.

The right expert

Don’t engage a career consultant; engage an expert that has hands-on working experience and proven results. You don’t need consulting theories. You need results.

The right relationship

The expertise and relationship are far more important than the firm’s size. While big firms may have a lot of people, you probably don’t need an army, nor does your budget. Instead, look for the best proven expert for your specific needs that has track record of successfully helping companies like yours.

Have an independent technology review performed. It will help assess your current state, opportunities for improvement, and the right roadmap to achieve success.

Is your company’s technology strategic or scattered? If you have questions or concerns, take the right actions now to get your company on the right track.

For more executive insights, listen to the CIO Exchange podcastBridging Your Application Gaps with Joe Beda, VMware Principal Engineer and James Watters, VMware CTO, Modern Application Platforms.