Kathy Gibson at the IDC CIO Summit, Sandton – We’ve heard about the four pillars of the 3rd Platform – big data, mobility, social and cloud computing – for some time; but now CIOs are looking to transform their organisations in line with these strategies.

So what are the decision imperatives for the 2015 CIO agenda; and what technologies are going to best address their business challenges while transforming the enterprise?

Stephen Elliot, vice-president: research at IDC, points out that all companies need to become technology companies.

“People talk about technology and they talk about people/process – but what’s popping out is competitive differentiation speed. We find that, besides having business outcome, it’s about speed, about how you are enabling the business faster.”

Companies whose business architecture is built on their technological infrastructure have been able to get services to market quickly – and tend to be more successful, he says.

Competitive strategies revolve around IT as a service (ITaaS), and IDC believes 65% of global competitive strategies will required a realtime 3rd platform ITaaS by 2016.

In this strategy, self-service will offer a more personalised, customer-centric experience.

In addition as SaaS and IaaS services expand, development, testing, mobile development and analytics will happen in workload waves.

“We are seeing a new focus on cost transparency,” Elliot adds. “This is having on impact on the decision of where to source your services from, whether internal or external IT capabilities.”

Security is a hot button issue for CIOs – and by 2016 it will be a top three business priority for 70% of CEOs.

It is imperative to elevate security to senior executive responsibility, including CXOs in cross-functional governance.

CIOs are urged to assess overall security architecture and transition from internal fixed cost assets to variable-cost PaaS. And they need to ensure that a security review – including cost – is a prerequisite for any new solution whether or not IT is involved.

Mobile adds to the complexity of security, and in mobile-first regions the customer privacy agenda is highlighted.

In regards to application provisioning, 60% of CIOs will use DevOps as their primary tool to address the speed and sprawl of mobile, cloud and open source applications by 2016.

This will allow CIOs to focus ont eh speed and quality of their development, allowing faster process to provide services at the pace business demands.

DevOps et IT manage outcomes not methods, to embrace open source and other development alternatives; plus it lets them integrate development and deployment with both business and technology metrics to track success.

“It changes the discussion; it drives tremendous business performance,” says Elliot. “It also drives a culture that requires IT leadership to accept the idea of failure to optimise business value.”

By 2018, 30% of CIOs will have rolled out an enterprise data and analytics strategy, Elliot points out.

It is imperative to create data governance and stewardship responsibilities and frameworks in concert with business owners nd security.

IDC advises CIOs to feed analytics with a data architecture that integrates existing, new and big data within a consistent framework. This needs to provide traceability from source to usage and rigorously assess the value of sources.
Importantly, says Elliot, big data requires business executive to improve their technology expertise. IT people have put a lot of effort into understanding the business – but it needs to work the other way around as well.

Many companies are talking about infrastructure transformation now; and IDC believes that by 2017, 35% of vendor sourcing relationships around 3rd platform technologies will fail – and CIOs will have to roll out new sourcing processes.

IDC advises CIOs to create comprehensive due diligence processes and standards to identify and mitigate technology, financial and security risks.
CIOs could look to the cloud as a potential migration strategy by should plan for deployment limitations, cost analysis and an exit strategy.

Elliot advises CIOs to re-evaluate current vendor relationships and expectations, and recognise that changes in vendor strategies often have a negative impact on IT’s ability to deliver successful projects.

In this instance, the CIO could become almost a service broker, or a chief technology economist, Elliot says.

Elliot quotes John Kotter’s book “Leading Change” which says the reasons transformations fail are: no sense of urgency; weak leadership and teams; the power of vision was underestimated; the vision was under communicated; obstacles were permitted to block the new vision; there was a failure to create short term wins; early victory was declared; and changes were not firmly anchored in the corporate culture.