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Nine CIO tips for surviving and thriving in 2015

SearchCIO expert Harvey Koeppel offers CIOs a nine-step tip sheet for making good in 2015, plus a bonus blooper reel of bad IT predictions.

In part one of Harvey's 2015 predictions column for CIOs, he singles out three trends that will continue to have big ramifications for the CIO role and enterprise IT next year.

Here, he offers readers nine CIO tips for surviving and thriving in 2015, plus a cautionary compilation of quotes illustrating the danger of making technology predictions:

  1. Continue to work with your executive and management teams to educate them on what digital business is and what the opportunities could be to your enterprise. When the subject of risk and cost of innovation arises (sorry for the prediction), be sure to be prepared with the risks and true costs of the all-too-common, head-in-the-sand (or elsewhere) approach. Doing nothing is likely not an option any more.
  2. Continue to focus on data. Content, quality, structured, unstructured -- more and more of our world will be about the data and less about the program.
  3. Continue to develop analytics, especially around your customers. Help your marketing, customer service, risk management and compliance teams to know your customers better than before. If you are not already using real-time analytics in this critical space, it's probably not too late, but don't dawdle.
  4. Build a strong cybersecurity program that includes both malware prevention and, critically, highlights early detection and mitigation as key to your strategy. Cybersecurity is no longer about "if" but rather it is about "when."  Ensure that your event response team is at the top of their game and that your escalation and communication policies and procedures are up to date and well-rehearsed. Internal education is of paramount importance.
  5. Continue to build a strong culture around governance, risk management and compliance. In simple terms, this is about ensuring that you are doing the right things and that you are doing things right. If there is ever a question about what to do or how to do it, put yourself in the shoes of your internal and/or external customers and ask yourself the question again.
  6. Continue to refine your IT and operations architecture based upon a solid understanding of your business architecture. Much redundancy has likely been, of necessity, eliminated during the economic downturn.  This could be your year for radical simplification. Start with the customer and work your way back to the ledger and question why you do everything.
  7. Work with your business partners to reimagine and reinvent things that were invented before Al Gore invented the Internet. The one-time and on-going savings from these projects will likely pay for investments required for much legacy remediation.
  8. As more business processes become standardized and simplified, the greater the likelihood that they will become commoditized. This is the formula for identifying candidates for potential SaaS migrations.
  9. Continue to evolve your bench strength based upon the needs of digital business and operating models. New skill sets will be required and the acquisition and retention of people with these skills is already a competitive differentiator for many enterprises.

End Note: More on the Value of IT Predictions …

  • "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  • "Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and weigh only 1.5 tons." -- Popular Mechanics, 1949.
  • "I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." -- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
  • "But what ... is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
  • "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
  • "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  • "The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
  • "While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility." -- Lee DeForest, inventor.
  • "So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'" -- Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and HP interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

Let me know what you think. Post a comment or drop me a note at hrkoeppel@aol.com. Discuss, debate or even argue -- let's continue the conversation.

Next Steps

More columns from Harvey in 2014:

Resolving the IT skills gap

10 ways to prepare for the Internet of Things

Disaster recovery during a bona fide crisis

BYOD governance in eight steps

Dig Deeper on Enterprise mobile strategy

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What's the worst IT prediction you've made?
I have seen improvements on AUDI and other vehicle brands that have had computerized sensors fitted on them. This technology enables the vehicles to drive unmanned, but I am uncertain about it. I believe this is one of the most dangerous tactics human are willing to try out! We all know that 'technology fails! Will Audi and other interested brands take responsibility if any accidents occur following the results of such technology or what happens?