The 10 CIO Commandments

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Today’s CIOs have a lot on their plates. Strategic planning, technical and business knowledge, internal politics and external partnerships – it’s enough to make anyone look for some heavenly guidance.

So, we’ve collected the top ten tips for CIOs, or CIO commandments as we call them, which cover the rules and guidelines to follow if you want to be admitted through those pearly gates of the boardroom with an angelic halo, to meet the rest of your c-suite.

There is no one cloud, thou mayst worship many others

The truth is – monotheism doesn’t suit the cloud. By 2022, Gartner believes that 75% of enterprises will be using a multi-cloud strategy, a leap from 49% in 2017. Multi-cloud provides benefits like being able to cherry-pick the right applications and services, improve your disaster recovery processes, and often saves costs or adds expertise in the areas that one cloud vendor offers more efficiently than another. Of course, making a success of multi-cloud means tight governance, and clear roles and responsibilities.

Thou shalt establish firm cloud governance

Which brings us to our next commandment, cloud governance. Your governance strategy should dictate processes for everything from how you’re going to monitor and retain visibility over a dynamic and hybrid environment, to recommendations for cost transparency and optimization. Don’t forget to establish protocols for security and compliance, auditing and budgets, and analytics and reporting too. Make sure you aren’t a single point of failure by codifying all policies and making these accessible to all.

Thou shalt bridge the gap between technology and business

Technology is now a critical enabler of business growth, but that doesn’t mean it’s taken over from business objectives. You shouldn’t have a David and Goliath situation going on, as a strong CIO can see things from both points of view. Look to foster dialogue between IT and business stakeholders, make sure that common objectives are being shared openly to engender trust, and speak up for both business and technology interests when they go head-to-head. And confiscate all slingshots.

Thou shalt not use the word “agile” in vain

85% of c-level executives lack confidence that their operating model can meet shifting strategic priorities. In short, they don’t feel agile. As a CIO, it’s about finding the balance between standardization and innovation. You don’t want your teams working with decentralized decision-making or spontaneous experimentation when it comes to customer data for example, as compliance dictates they follow a strict process. However, when they’re thinking about creating feature ideas or delighting customers, you want nothing more than for them to march to the beat of their own drum. Make sure your teams know how the balance falls for your organization.

Honor thy margins and cost-cutting strategies

In the beginning… you probably heard that the cloud could save you money. But now? That idea probably seems about as likely as regaining Adam and Eve’s innocence. The cloud may not be saving you money every month, but it’s still your job to prove its ROI. That includes having processes in place to remove idle resources, right-size your instances, choose the most cost-effective storage and compute for your needs, and translate a complex monthly cloud invoice into words that everyone understands.

Thou shalt not ignore new and evolving technologies

To prove your worth as a CIO – you need to be taking initiative on new technological advancements, implementing technology-based answers to critical business questions. That means your peers will be looking to you to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest tech innovation, whether that’s AI, AR, IoT, 5G – or whatever is trending in your industry vertical. If you can come to the table with a tech-based answer, you’re going a long way to bridging that tech/business gap we discussed earlier.

Thou shalt fully understand current tech challenges in the market

If you’re arriving at the party with ideas, you need to recognize the shortfalls too, or you’ll quickly find yourself unable to answer the tough questions. Meet with business and technology leaders across the organization and ask them what’s holding them back from implementing their own wishlists. You might even want to assign a specific team that focuses on problem-solving, and remains two steps ahead for key challenges with technology such as integration, cost, or data privacy.

Thou shalt not covet thy competitors cloud talent

Here’s number 8 – “Last chance to negotiate, send in your seconds see if they can set the record straight…” oh wait, that’s the wrong 10 commandments. (Although who doesn’t worship at the altar of Lin Manual Miranda?) Skills gaps are huge when it comes to cloud talent, but stop looking elsewhere, and start working on retaining the engineers, developers and cloud architects you already have onboard your Ark. Focus on creating opportunities for growth and personal development internally – and they’ll soon tell their friends.

Thou shalt practice early and continuous compliance

Compliance is a huge one, and unlike reading the Bible – you can’t wait for a calling. Instead of sitting around waiting for an audit, compliance needs to be an integral part of your cloud strategy from day one. Start by classifying all your data assets including customer PII, financial information and intellectual property, and remember that (unlike on-premises) traffic moves east to west inside the cloud data center. That means factors like SaaS partners and API integrations create a heterogeneous environment that has no traditional perimeter to rely on.

Know thy organization

Lastly, don’t underestimate the cultural needs of your organization, especially when you’re trying to make change. Track down and speak to people who have been there a long time and who have the tribal knowledge that can help you understand what you’re dealing with. Then be collaborative and transparent about your direction, your progress and your goals, getting as many business and technology leaders on board with your plans. Don’t try to change too much too fast, and keep bringing initiatives back to core organizational goals that speak to everyone equally – just like Moses did on Mount Sinai.

Ready to see how AI-driven cloud management could prompt a religious experience? Give us a call, we’ll have you believing in miracles in no time.