CIO as Innovator: Enabling the Strategy-Focused IT Organization

We are now in process of launching our flagship best practices publication, the Cloud CIO guide @ CloudCIO.info.

While the technology aspects of Cloud Computing are important, what is actually most noteworthy about the trend is the transformation of the role of the CIO, to become a board-level change agent specializing in innovation.

A headline example is Government. Traditionally you would consider the public sector to be the least innovative, to be the last to adopt any form of new and disruptive technology and certainly not to be a leader of innovation.

However the nature of the trend is illustrated by just how much the opposite is now true.

Digital Government: Future First Architecture

Recently the new Whitehouse CIO Steven VanRoekel announced their ‘Digital Government’ strategy, reflecting this broader perspective.

Highlighting this innovation focus, it has evolved Cloud First to what they now describe as a ’Future First Architecture’ that brings together shared service Cloud Computing, XML Web APIs, mobile apps, Big Data, and more.. It’s nicely explained in this GovLoop guide.

The recent US Innovation Summit highlights this new role of CIO as innovator, and described in this article the US CTO Todd Park describes how xxx:

“Before coming to government, I spent my almost my entire career as an entrepreneur,” Park told FedScoop before his presentation, “and in that time I’ve never been surrounded by as many who have that same entrepreneurial drive and spirit than I do right now in the federal government.”

The Cloud Strategy Map

Other industries and their CIO’s can repeat the same effect, and there are structured methodologies to help with this process.

Robert Gold documents a repeatable maturity model for this in his article Enabling the Strategy-Focused IT Organization. This covers the issues that arise that cause business management to perceive IT to be overly expensive and failing to align these costs with benefit to their business units.

Fundamentally Gold defines a scale where at one end IT is perceived and managed as a cost and at the other it;s leveraged as a strategic enabler, able to achieve competitive advantage. Central to this is the ‘Strategy Map’, a framework for achieving this strategic view of IT, and in our ongoing Cloud CIO series we’ll explain how this can be tailored and adapted specifically for Cloud Computing.

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