How Can CIOs Use Software Intelligence to Manage their Newfound C-Suite Popularity?


These are interesting days for the Chief Information Officer, specifically when it comes to CIO risk management. Throughout much of my time as a CIO for very large global companies and later as a business and IT/digital advisor, I’ve worked with CIOs who were given the formidable responsibility leading technology innovation, while being largely cloistered from the down-and-dirty business concerns of the C-suite. However, the push for “digital transformation” has opened up the boardroom doors. Now the CIO – and the entire tech team – are engaging with sales, marketing, operations and HR colleagues to not just create operating efficiencies, but also to innovate.

Recent research from Harvey Nash/KPMG reports that CIOs influence on their firms’ business strategies is at a 10-year high. More than 66% of CIO surveyed worldwide say they’ve sat in board meetings in the past quarter. Gartner expands on this theme: 84% of respondents to its latest CIO survey report having significant responsibilities for areas of their business “outside of traditional IT.”

These executives cite innovation and transformation as their most common they’re now being measured for, in terms of performance. Those polled by Harvey Nash/KPMG report that there’s an approximate 60/40 balance between business performance metrics (i.e. their influence on strategy, revenue growth, and other business outcomes) and more traditional IT measurements.

New Demands Open Up Software Intelligence Opportunities

Many of the CIOs I work with report this pair of pervasive questions coming from the C-suite:

  • Can you give me what I need to run my business better, expand our market footprint, and increase top line growth?
  • How are you going to reduce cost so we can improve our margins? (this includes reducing costly security breaches, as well as reducing the footprint of the information infrastructure.)

For these reasons, I suggest that CIOs refine their efforts to focus on Agile applications development, to deliver more business value more efficiently, and simplify their applications portfolios.

Thorough its Software Intelligence solutions, CAST addresses these areas of IT operation, and much more, to broaden and deepen the conversations CIOs have with most everyone in the C-Suite.

Starting with its assessment of an organization’s legacy architecture, or application portfolio analysis, CAST solutions can provide you with valuable insights and guidance for where to simply your portfolio, including the identification and elimination of functional redundancies. As you develop new applications to replace or augment your current portfolio, the Dashboard aids Agile Applications development by providing tools that can assess risk-adjusted productivity and monitor software quality – even within an accelerated development cycle. At the same time, these tools can ensure a baseline level of quality between your new and legacy applications.

Holding Down Development (and other) Costs

Most every CIO I talk with cites overhead as a key business consideration that they’re now a part of solving. Operating costs are a natural target. Leaders are working to move application software to the cloud, which requires understanding the interconnections between legacy and new software. This often can be quite difficult given the age of some of our software and the scarcity of personnel who understand the old code. Software Intelligence solutions can start by identifying these interdependencies, as well as identifying software application inefficiencies that lead to increased cloud-hosting or MIPS costs. Part of this includes detecting software flaws, which can necessitate re-development, adding resources, and repeating QA cycles. However, by managing such instances of technical debt, among other functions, CAST can attack these costs.

Another serious contributor to increased business costs – though not as commonly thought of in the cost-reduction conversation – is increased applications security. In the aforementioned Gartner survey, 95% of CIOs interviewed say they expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organizations. Yet according to additional research from Harvey Nash/KPMG, only one fifth of organizations surveyed feel they are well positioned to deal with cybersecurity issues.

One of CAST's great strengths in this area is the ability of its solutions to identify unique critical security flaws using contextual analysis. Its solutions increase security by taking a holistic approach: CAST can create a blueprint for proactive threat analysis, gain a greater understanding of where contact is being made with sensitive data structures, and to identify call pathways that are vulnerable to attack.

Continuing the C-Suite Conversation

I’m excited about the new possibilities emerging from the CIO’s expanded role in business operations. As part of this shift, tech executives are rapidly gaining newfound fluency in understanding larger business objectives and demands. Likewise, as CIOs are called upon more and more to apply their technology expertise to business challenges, they must identify the best tools to meet those demands, while also being able to convey “features and benefits” in clear, transparent ways that their business colleagues will embrace.

Software Intelligence from CAST arms IT leaders with meaningful analytics that correlate software risk with business value, so CIOs can make smarter and swifter decisions about technology investments and trade-offs to help drive business objectives.

Filed in: IT Leadership
Russ Mayer
Russ Mayer Senior Advisor
With more than 40 years of experience in IT and lean business process improvement, Russ has been a CIO for 20 years, leading global organizations across large diverse industries focused in manufacturing and healthcare. Throughout his career, he has played instrumental roles in delivering major improvements in IT cost, speed and impact, resulting in recognized, significant business operating results. He is currently a Senior Advisor with The Boston Consulting Group.
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