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Redefine Information DNA of Enterprises

There will be enormous stress on reinventing the information DNA of the enterprise, that must be reimagined by the CIO.


“To have a comeback, you have to have a setback” – Mr. T

Among the predictions made by research and advisory firm, Forrester, one prediction caught my eye. It says, “CIOs will lead the bold disruptions.” According to Forrester, “Leading CIOs … are collaborating more across organizations, objectives, and budgets, extending IT-business partnerships into enterprise- level shared accountability.”

This essentially means that as small and large businesses scramble to go more and more digital, the folks managing information, technology and collaboration become the glue around which the entire enterprise pivots.

This is indeed welcome news to the CIO/CTO community, faced as they were with numerous challenges. As a matter of fact, early this year, when I was talking to the CEO of a software services firm, he categorically mentioned that their customers are no longer the CIOs or the CTOs. ‘in many a case, we don’t even engage with them, except to get a formal signoff’. Technology buying had moved away from being technology-centric to being business-centric. The buyers of technology solutions were asking for and getting business solutions, which predicated that the business process owner had to sign off, irrespective of the CTO’s recommendations.

That will change.

In the post-Covid world (how, I hate that phrase!), integration of technologies will become the first port of call for all businesses. It will become imperative that digital collaboration becomes the center-piece rather than being the show-piece of the enterprise. Digital collaboration will become especially critical when it comes to collaborating with the external world – customers, suppliers, partners, regulators et al, and will no longer be confined to internal processes.

This holistic collaboration exercise is also evident from another of Forrester’s predictions – that business’ spend on cloud will go up by almost 30% particularly on security and risk mitigation. The recent Solarwinds supply chain attack has only confirmed what we always knew – that our systems are more vulnerable than what we think. To that extent, the paranoia regarding security and risk mitigation will be on every CEO and CFO’s mind, not to speak of other CFOs. Given that India is the third most cyber-attacked country in the world will also increase our business leader’s insomnia.

To that extent, it is some sort of as re-birth of the quintessential CIO/CTO. (S)he has to now transform from an information gatekeeper to Information manager. This difference is crucial. There will be enormous stress on reinventing the information DNA of the enterprise, that must be reimagined by the CIO.

With increased focus on ‘work-from-home’, this problem is likely to get magnified a great deal. Forrester says that ‘remote work will increase by 300%’. Whether or not that is true, remote work will increase very sharply and with that the network topology will increase dramatically. Secondly, it is a proven fact insider threats are a non-trivial risk and with increased WFH, the insider threat risk will go up – Forrester estimates it to go up from 25% currently to almost 33%, which means one-third of an enterprise information breach will come from its own employees. The CIO will lose some more sleep.

So the CIO could transform into Chief Information Manager (CIM) or the Strategic Information Manager (SIM) or even the Strategic Data Manager (SDM) or even rechristen themselves as the ‘Strategic Head of Information Taxonomy’… This is one acronym that the erstwhile CIO will not want. Definitely.

(L Subramanyan is Founder and CEO of Trivone)

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