Continuing our series of articles looking ahead to 2018, Matt Fisher, SVP of Product Strategy at Snow Software takes a look at what will keep CIOs awake at night.

As IT leaders around the Western world gear up for a much-needed holiday break, sleepless nights have set in as they ponder what 2018 has in store for them. There has arguably never been such a period of tumultuous change in the selection, procurement and funding of technology consumption by the organisation.

While the CIO’s world will change in 2018, the following advice will help them sleep more easily at night:

Tectonic shift in spending power

Analysts like Gartner are already seeing a huge swing in technology spending power in organisations around the world – moving away from IT-procured systems and toward business-funded technology consumption, accelerated by the growing adoption of mobile, SaaS, PaaS and IaaS technologies. As more software (and even hardware) vendors move to subscription models, it becomes easier for business units to select and adopt technologies with no involvement from the IT team or CIO.

However, the CIO is still the one the board turns to when trying to understand its increasing spend in technology. With different business units making their own SaaS and IaaS purchases, it is increasingly difficult for the CIO to provide their board with an understanding of what is being purchased and consumed, or why.

To remediate this, CIOs need to take visibility and analytics more seriously. By enhancing and evolving their approach to managing IT assets, CIOs can gain visibility not only of the physical and virtual assets inside the enterprise, but also software and hardware located in the cloud. This will enable them to not only report on technology consumption but also to scrutinise it and fulfil their obligation to the organisation to be the guardian of technology spend.

To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

More and more software vendors are turning to cloud subscription models to build their future revenue streams (and fulfil promises to shareholders).  As such, they are putting more pressure on end-user customers to move their on-premise systems to the cloud.  They are doing this primarily through what looks like heavy incentives for cloud subscriptions and through audit activity. That’s right – the software audit is alive and well. But many vendors are no longer using audits to drive compliance fines. Instead, their goal is to move legacy customers onto the latest cloud apps, versions and licensing plans.

CIOs that don’t have full visibility of their current estate and asset costs (both hardware and software) are in a poor position to make a qualified decision on whether moving to the cloud is actually the right thing to do.

CIOs that don’t have full visibility of their current estate and asset costs (both hardware and software) are in a poor position to make a qualified decision on whether moving to the cloud is actually the right thing to do. Software and infrastructure service providers deliberately make their initial cloud costs look appealing, but without understanding current costs and ongoing obligations for on-premises systems, CIOs could be unwittingly overloading their technology budgets for apparent short-term gains.

A brave new world  

Closely linked to the shift in spending power – along with the organisation’s need to innovate and bring new products and services to market – is the changing role of the CIO and the IT team. No longer is the IT team primarily charged with building and delivering technology to the rest of the organisation. Instead, most analysts and fortune tellers agree that the future role of the IT team is to help the business select, procure and consume the right technologies for their needs. Indeed, Gartner recently announced that, “At least 84% of CIOs surveyed [across all major industries] have responsibilities for areas outside of traditional IT. The most common are innovation and transformation.”

IT leaders that fail to adapt to the new world are likely to go the way of the dinosaur...Click To Tweet

IT leaders that fail to adapt to the new world are likely to go the way of the dinosaur, which will no doubt cause many sleepless nights. However, the IT leaders that will thrive will be those that can identify how to work with business units, to transform their role from being ‘head of IT’ to ‘go-to person when we’re looking at how technology can help us achieve new goals’.  The CIO of 2018 and beyond isn’t a deliverer of IT systems so much as a broker of technology services, helping to bring together business units with common goals and technology needs to work together, being innovative and taking advantage of new technologies, but without unnecessarily adding cost or risk to the wider organisation.

To summarise, the CIO has a lot on their plate and they’d be forgiven for being a bit distracted this holiday season. But the holiday break is also a great time to take stock, do a little research and form a strong strategy to move beyond the IT silo and integrate more fully with the rest of the business in 2018. And key to it all is getting that complete understanding of what’s happening across the technology estate.  Be the most-informed person with regards to organisational-wide technology spending and consumption and you will be in the best position to provide value to both the board and the individual business units.

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Matt Fisher joined Snow as its first non-Swedish Vice President in 2013, with the goal of helping it become the undisputed leader in the provision of Software Asset Management (SAM) technologies. He has contributed to growing the business by an average of 60% year-on-year with a standout 90% growth in 2015. He works closely with the Snow marketing teams, product management and sales functions to ensure that Snow is front of mind for SAM and business managers that need to optimize their software assets and licensing.