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HP Software's community for IT leaders // January 2014

The CIO’s 2014 cheat sheet

A panel of experts on mobility, security, cloud, Big Data, and IT leadership tell us what should be top-of-mind in the coming year.

With 2014 dawning, we talked with several key IT leaders about what CIOs should focus on in the new year. Of course mobility, Big Data, cloud, and security continue to be hot topics. But we found an emphasis on the “next leap forward” in each of these areas, as technologies continue to evolve and businesses embrace new approaches to delivering what their users demand.

The topics are resonating industry-wide. For instance, Gartner’s “Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2014” focuses on several of these areas as well, notably mobile device management and cloud innovation. Gartner says the convergence of powerful technology trends “continue to drive change and create new opportunities, creating demand for advanced programmable infrastructure that can execute at web-scale.” Each of our interviewees talked about these opportunities and challenges as we looked at 2014 and beyond.

Following is a summary of what we heard—highlighting the specific challenges that may warrant your attention in the coming year, with links to the respective interviews.

Making 2014 the year of mobile enablement

In 2013, mobile devices passed PCs to become the most common web access tools. Maribel Lopez, CEO of Lopez Research, talked to us about the challenges and opportunities presented by mobility in the coming year. While 2013 can be described as the “year of BYOD,” Lopez said that 2014 will be the year of mobile enablement of business processes.

“We’ve all finally accepted that BYOD is here to stay, so this year is for thinking about how mobile can be an integrated part of the business,” Lopez said.

Mobility has to be integrated with a CIO’s overall strategy for the cloud, for example, so that you can decide what data lives on premise and what goes to the cloud. It also needs to integrate with your Big Data and apps development plans, so that all the data generated by mobile devices is available and integral to key business decisions.

Big Data analytics for everyone

Colin Mahony, VP and general manager of HP Vertica, sees more businesses ramping up Big Data projects to enhance the return on their massive volume of diverse data.

“I think 2014 is the year that massive shifts will take place around Big Data,” Mahony told us. “It’s shifting to the mainstream, and people are looking not only at new applications of Big Data, but also at replacing their antiquated mainframes and other high-priced systems with next-generation architectures.”

As Mahony pointed out, IT is increasingly pressured not just with delivering return on investment, but also with the “other ROI—return on information.” So most CIOs are starting to test Big Data analytics, then building on success to form a holistic analytics strategy. He noted that current industry research shows that enterprise-level analytics projects are delivering a 10-to-1 return on investment.

Getting ops to focus more on its relationship with the business

The last few years have seen ops and apps work together to create efficient processes. With greater efficiencies won, many IT organizations are shifting the focus of ops onto understanding and aligning with business goals.

“After all, ops gets its mandate from the business,” said Louise Ng, lead solutions consultant with HP Software Professional Services. “When alignment between ops and the business is not there, the business can look to outsourcing with third-party cloud providers.”

Ng recommended that ops teams begin to embrace the idea of service lifecycle, fostering a stronger relationship with lines of business by getting better acquainted with their individual business needs—and speaking to them in their own language.

“So it’s not ‘How many CPUs and how much memory do I need?’” she said, but “‘How often should it be available, in what languages, and what time zones?’”

Changing the organizational culture to inspire innovation

Continuing cloud innovation will have leading CIOs looking for better ways to inspire a culture of continuous innovation across their organizations. Dean Meyer, president of NDMA, a consulting firm specializing in organizational transformation, spoke with us about how best to create an IT organization that is entrepreneurial and innovative.

An innovative IT organization, Meyer said, is run as a business within a business—a paradigm he uses in coaching IT leaders through systemic change. He says IT leaders have to move past managing budget and headcount, and aiming to spend their annual budget well.

“If that’s what drives you,” he said, “something like the cloud represents a threat because it reduces the size of your empire.”

Meyer sees the healthy organization’s culture as entrepreneurial—with every manager, right down to each first line, running a small business within the larger enterprise.

Getting IT security people to talk like business owners

We enter 2014 with the enterprise literally under attack—and it costs more and more to defend against better and better attacks from smarter and smarter adversaries. CISOs need to get everyone in the business on the same page about which assets to keep under heavy guard.

Art Gilliland, VP and general manager of HP Enterprise Security, thinks the best security leaders will be talking in terms that business people can understand—moving away from checklists and security frameworks that have little meaning to business peers.

As Gilliland told us, “Telling stories that business people understand is absolutely critical. We often use the wrong data to communicate. It’s not effective to cite the number of viruses or blocked IPs. It’s far more effective to help them understand what is actually happening on the other side and who the enemy is.”

As for specific strategies, in a separate conversation, Ponemon Institute Chairman Larry Ponemon said, “You need the right mix of things: personnel, technology, feedback, and governance,” and shared his thoughts on putting those pieces together.

For more on what the CIO should expect to see in 2014, read the rest of our January issue, and look forward to more interviews in our February edition.


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