What is keeping the CIO up at nights?

What is keeping the CIO up at nights? Explosive data growth, the integration of new technologies (e.g., Big Data, Cloud, BYOD, etc.), or the acceleration of the disruption? Market fit, or new consumption patterns? Read on...
Written by Gery Menegaz, Contributor

One of the most effective ways to ensure that I am able to anticipate the changes in an industry or market are, in large part, due to the work that I do as a technology writer. The preparation for the writing of an article allows me not only to see what is coming from a technology perspective but also provides me with an insight as to what is at the forefront of most CXO's minds.

In fact, one of the stock questions I ask is: what is keeping you up at night?

Below are the responses for some of the hotter IT topics today.

Kent Christensen, Practice Director — Data Center/ Cloud, Datalink, put it best.

“CIOs are under tremendous pressure to maximize the value of their company’s data. Done well, their organizations stand to gain more shareholder value, greater competitive advantage, and much more.

Many are focused on three strategies to do so:

  • Data Analytics / Big Data — By mining their data banks and applying analytics, organizations can derive valuable intelligence that can make notable impacts to the bottom line.
  • Cloud — CIOs are leveraging private, hybrid, and public clouds to deliver information more quickly, efficiently, and reliably.
  • Distributed Sharing — Today’s CIOs must shepherd corporate data assets in distributed environments, including BYOD, wireless, and collaboration (instant messaging, teleconference, video, etc.)."

Over and over again, I heard industry leaders voice their concerns about employees bringing their own device (BYOD) to work, and having their security breached. Yangin Wang, founder and CEO of Vobile, Inc. related, "With the increasing popularity of BYOD and the ever expanding cloud storage space, how to manage content for security and efficiency is a top concern for CIOs today."

Jaspreet Singh, CEO of Druva, agreed that the number one issue CIO's today is overall protection, governance and management of endpoint (BYOD) data:

“The CIOs are facing with corporate responsibility for :

  • Enable secure access of corporate data on smartphones, and if possible enable collaboration.
  • Protect the data at the egde using endpoint backup, and keep it intact.
  • Have visibility and control over how the data, and mitigate risk using DLP.
  • Make way for analytics and eDiscovery, and automate processes like legal hold and preliminary discovery findings.”

Monte Zweben, serial entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO, of Splice Machine, looks beyond  BYOD to the massive volume of data that many CIOs today have to manage and analyze in order to marinating a competitive advantage. “CIOs struggle to gain control of the explosively growing data their businesses generate and understand how to leverage that information to turn the data into smart business actions.”

In addition to explosive data growth, staying on top of the ever-changing technology and tools available today to CXOs can be daunting. One of the biggest challenges I face is continuously integrating new technologies with our systems while keeping them stable and reliable,” Hostway’s VP of Research and Development Mike Robski said. “While many new options receive media attention, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready for prime time.”

Simple, existing technologies, however, have the power to be disruptive. G2 Crowd's co-founder Matt Gorniak agrees that the acceleration of the disruption” is something that ought to be at the forefront of every CIO's mind. On the flip side of this, Rob May, founder and CEO of Backupify, is concerned with technology lock-in.” Specifically, that being locked in to a specific technology set will limit an organization's ability to be innovative in a yet-to-be-determined fashion.

Ken Owens, Cloud CTO, at Savvis, put it this way:

 “The ways people communicate, learn, work, play, organize, govern initiation and conduct commerce are rapidly evolving, serving as a catalyst for the new ways businesses see and approach opportunity.

The No. 1 issue for CIOs is recognizing the impact of these radical changes on their industries, translating that to the IT organization, and embracing their elevated role in spearheading completely new business models made possible only through cloud migration, outsourcing, ubiquitous computing and IT-enabled corporate strategy.”

The cost structures used to manage new technology can be radically different than the ones underneath legacy IT systems as well. And, Owens notes, “...ultimately, those CIOs who can give voice to these ideas will thrive, as will their companies.”

I was surprised that cost did not come up more in these conversations. It did come up in my conversation with David Rosenthal, FoundationDB Co-Founder however. Rosenthal noted:

“Our biggest CIO issue is trying to decide between buying our own hardware or renting it from Amazon. Right now we spend a lot more money on our own hardware than we do with Amazon. The biggest issues we have with Amazon EC2 are 1) high costs, 2) significantly lower performance for certain workloads relevant for databases like ours.”

“Never before has IT and business been so closely tied together,” noted Kent Christensen. Never before has technology moved more quickly and “missteps at this speed have larger trajectory impacts,” added SumAll's CEO Dane Atkinson. I could not agree more.

What do you think? Let me know.

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