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CIO: Information technology leaders benefit from scaling projects

CIOs and information technology leaders should embrace and initiate scaling projects to thrive in the evolving world of IT, according to Bruce Maas, vice provost for IT and CIO at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. Maas spoke with SearchCIO at the recent Fusion CEO-CIO conference, produced by WTN Media. In this video he explains how architecting projects at scale can positively impact the business bottom line, why CIOs and information technology leaders need to keep abreast of changing technologies and developments, and how nurturing a diverse IT workforce can help build an effective team.

What's your advice for CIOs and information technology leaders?

We should look at scaling opportunities whenever we can get them.

Bruce Maas: My advice is, first of all, IT is just an incredibly rapidly changing field. They need to stay up to date on developments that are occurring within the field and realize that scale matters. Doing things at scale whenever you can will yield a better bottom line than if you are treating things as a one-off. Cloud scaling is the obvious one, but there are other types of opportunities. For example, we're looking into a consortium for security services that serves the Big Ten institutions right now. That is a scale that's higher than the university and we're looking for those opportunities. I think the banking industry and the healthcare industry have made progress in this area. We should look at scaling opportunities whenever we can.

Also, IT is now a team sport. It's a profession that requires very high social skills, very high communication skills and collaboration skills. Look to hire people who are well-rounded and who have problem-solving ability. It doesn't just mean hiring people who are produced from the computer sciences department, even though we do produce very highly talented individuals in computer sciences departments. It's amazing what might be the ability level of people who do not have technology as their core skill set but have some technology skills to go along with it. Look very broadly to your universities for your candidate pools as you're looking to fill out your staff.

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