There are many choices, which device should a CIO choose?

There are many choices, which device should a CIO choose?
Image Credit: thrivingmom

You know, it really was not all that long ago that when we got ready for work we just grabbed our lunch and headed out the door. We knew that when we got to work our desktop computer would be sitting there ready for us to start to use it. Over time things have changed. First came laptops. Now we had to grab our laptop before we headed out the door. Next came mobile phones and all of their wonderful features. We needed to make sure that ours was fully charged so that we’ll be able to make it through the day. Finally, tablets have arrived and none of us are really sure what to do with these – do we still need laptops?

The Numbers Don’t Lie

As the person with the CIO job, the world that you occupy when it comes to trying to decide how best to equip the company can be confusing. There are three options and each of these options has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, I believe that everyone pretty much agrees that the three options are by no means the same. We all know that there is only so much that you can do with either a tablet or a phone. They just don’t have the horsepower or the real estate to accomplish many of the bigger tasks that we need to do. Touchscreens are nice, but sometimes you just want a keyboard and a mouse. This is why real work still happens using either a PC or a Mac.

The numbers seem to bear this thinking out. When you take a look at how many desktop and laptop computers companies have purchased over the past decade you’ll discover that the number just keeps on growing. Total sales of computers that run either Windows, OS X, or Chrome were at about 32 million in 2010. This number has grown to be 37 million in 2015.

There are a number of reasons why PC and laptop sales continue to grow. In a number of different industries they have been using Windows boxes for decades and they really don’t see any need to change. Apple Mac computers are growing in quantity; however, they still only represent a small percentage of the total number of computers being used in the workplace. The person with the CIO job needs to understand that one of the key reasons why so many different companies may be selecting Macs is as much about style as it is about functionality.

The Times Are A Changing

As challenging as all of this device overload may be, it gets even more complicated. The world as we know it continues to change. As CIOs we have the responsibility to be aware that changes are happening and we need to understand that they may have an impact on what decision we make in terms of how we equip the people who work at our firm. What is starting to happen is that more and more workers are starting to bring their iPhones and iPads into the workplace. All of a sudden what used to be strange or unusual is starting to become more commonplace.

Make no mistake here, Windows is still the standard for most companies. However, more and more firms are starting to port their Windows-only software over to the Mac. These companies include Microsoft and Autodesk. Back in 2010, only about 515,000 Macs were sold to firms. This number has grown to 1.2 million in 2015. There are some industries that have selected to use the Mac. A number of the graphics arts firms and firms associated with fashion almost exclusively use Mac computers for the majority of their work.

Tablets are also starting to become a player in the modern workplace. Back in 2010 only about 131,000 were sold to companies. However, in 2015 over 6 million were sold to companies. One of the reasons for this amazing increase in sales is due to the fact that software vendors are starting to port their software products over to run on tablets. One key example of this is Microsoft who has created an iPad version of its Office productivity suite. One other feature that has made tablets more popular is the increasing use of cloud storage. When documents and forms are stored “in the cloud”, they can then easily be accessed from any device including a tablet.

What All Of This Means For You

The rest of the company looks to the CIO to be the person who knows what is going on when it comes to the importance of information technology. One side effect of this belief is that we are the ones who are being asked to decide what everyone in the company should be carrying: a laptop, a tablet, or a cell phone in order to get our work done. It turns out that coming up with an answer to this question may not be all that easy to do.

Now that we’ve all had a chance to try out each of the three devices that we could be using, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone, I’m pretty sure that we’ve all reached the same decision. Tablets and mobile phones just don’t have enough computing strength to do the kind of work that we need to get done. When it’s time to do real work, we always seem to go back to the laptop. Mac sales are growing also, but not as much as Windows sales. Although Windows rules the world now, more and more Apple products are coming into the workplace. More software is also being ported to the Mac. Tablets are growing in sales also. Vendors are also porting their software to run on tablets.

Nobody ever said that this selecting what type of equipment the company should be using was going to be an easy thing to do. However, they also never told us that it was going to be this hard to do. CIOs need to take a very careful look at the type of work that their company’s workers do and determine what device is going to best suit their needs. Don’t worry too much about what decision you make because you’re going to have to do this all over again in a couple of years!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that having a laptop or a tablet is an either or situation?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Just in case you missed it, the world around us is changing. Although CIOs like to surround themselves with things like servers, software, clouds, and secure networks, we need to keep in mind that our company employs us for a reason. They understand the importance of information technology and they want us to help them to harness it so that they can do what they do better. For a lot of firms this means that they want to make things quicker, better, faster. Manufacturing may seem like it’s old school, but it’s often the reason that our company exists in the first place.

{ 0 comments }

The company's factory needs some help from the CIO

The company’s factory needs some help from the CIO
Image Credit: Dimitrios Zervas

As the person with the CIO job, you spend a lot of your time thinking about importance of information technology which includes things like the cloud, securing the network, etc. However, the company that you work for is in business to do one thing – make money. They generally do this by running a factory and creating goods. What this means for you as the CIO is that you need to spend some time thinking about the factory and how the IT department can help to make it run more effectively.

What IT Can Do To Help The Factory

Every company has a vision of what they want their factory to look like in the future. It transforms from the worker filled building that it is today into a sleek line of robots that whirl and automatically perform their individual tasks. Having these robots working for the company means that nothing will ever break down and all deliveries can be made on time. Since the factory of the future will be fully wired, machine health will be monitored and any issues will be quickly and efficiently dealt with.

The challenge that the company is facing is that although they know what they would like the future to look like, it’s not here yet. Instead, they find themselves using decades-old machinery that has yet to be equipped with any sort of sensors. The problem that the company is facing is that there are no ready-made solutions that will allow them to get from where they are to where they want to be. The good news is that this change has been done.

In order to convert a factory from the way that it currently is to the way that the company wants it to be, the CIO needs to understand that each case is going to be different. In order to be successful, you are going to have to have a deep understanding of what each machine in the factory does. Additionally, the metrics to be tracked on a per machine basis have to be determined. Your IT team will have to learn to use trial and error in order to determine just exactly what sensor should be used and where on a given machine it should be placed. Once you have all of this taken care of, the person in the CIO position is still going to have to plan for the collection of data from each monitored machine, filtering this data, and then, of course, making use of all of the data that has been collected.

The Challenges Of Changing The Factory

In the factory of the future, it’s all about data. If you have the ability to monitor and collect data from all of your equipment, then you’ll have the information that you’ll need in order to start to predict when one of your pieces of factory equipment may start to fail – before it fails. The metrics that get tracked include such items as temperature and vibration. By monitoring these values, the people running the factory can keep their machines running at peak efficiently. The goal is to collect enough data so that factory managers can be alerted when a problem shows up that could slow manufacturing down or, in the worst case, shut down the entire factory.

All of the data that comes pouring off of monitored machines in a factory has to then be fed into an analytics system that can then predict problems hopefully long before they start to show up in the factory. The sensors that get added to machines in the factory have the downside of making the monitored equipment more complicated. This is in addition to the sensors themselves being complex. A CIOs challenges will start with trying to select the correct sensors for their factory. You may end up having to take the time to conduct a series of test runs in order to discover which type of sensor will work best in your factory.

In addition to choosing the correct sensors, CIOs will also find themselves being asked to help out with the process of installing the sensors. There is a certain set of data that the company wants to collect, when the sensors are being installed you are going to have to make sure that you are going to be able to collect the data that you need from this machine, not, for example, vibrations from a nearby machine. In order to do this correctly, calibration work by experienced engineers may be required.

What All Of This Means For You

Most companies make their money by creating items that are then sold for a profit. These items have to be created somewhere and that is why so many companies have a factory. Most companies can dream of a future where their factory is staffed by robots who never break down and never make a mistake. However, that future does not exist yet. The CIO is responsible for helping the company get from where it is today to where it wants to be tomorrow.

When robots run our factories, they will be able to tell us before they break down. Since most companies are using older equipment what they would like is ready-made solutions, but these don’t exist. In order to convert an existing factory into a factory of the future, the CIO is going to have to take the time to understand what each machine does, and how it does it. Adding sensors to existing machines requires the CIO to participate in selecting the correct sensors for the company’s factories. Once the type of sensor has been determined, the next step is to determine where to place the sensors so that they’ll collect the required information.

Slowly our company’s factories are evolving towards the factories of the future that we can all imagine. As the company’s CIO, you need to play a role in moving your factories from where they are to where the company wants them to be. Using your knowledge of IT and applying to implementing a system to both monitor and track the machines that are used in the factory will provide the company with the data that it’s going to need. Show the company how to get the most out of their factory machines.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that adding monitoring to a factory should be done piece by piece or all at once?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

You know, it really was not all that long ago that when we got ready for work we just grabbed our lunch and headed out the door. We knew that when we got to work our desktop computer would be sitting there ready for us to start to use it. Over time things have changed. First came laptops. Now we had to grab our laptop before we headed out the door. Next came mobile phones and all of their wonderful features. We needed to make sure that ours was fully charged so that we’ll be able to make it through the day. Finally, tablets have arrived and none of us are really sure what to do with these – do we still need laptops?

{ 0 comments }

GE Is Changing How They Evaluate Their Employees, Should You?

June 28, 2017

I’m pretty sure that we all know who General Electic (GE) is. The company has been around for 124 years and employees over 315,000 people. The company has made everything from toasters to railway locomotives to aircraft engines to nuclear power plants. They truly understand the importance of information technology. As impressive as all of […]

Read the full article →

A CIO’s Code Of Ethics For Managing Company Data

June 21, 2017

As the person with the CIO job, it turns out that you have a daily job in which you are the person who is responsible for keeping control over your company’s data. Not only do you have to make good decisions about who can get access to the company’s data, but you also have to […]

Read the full article →

How Can CIOs Help Their Staff To Better Understand Millennials?

June 14, 2017

As the person with the CIO job it is your responsibility to make sure that your direct reports are doing a good job of managing their staff. After all, collectively these are the people who make up your IT department and your ability to deliver on the importance of information technology depends on their abilities. […]

Read the full article →

Social Networking @ Work: Are You Ready?

June 7, 2017

So there’s no question that this whole social networking thing has become very, very popular. No matter if we’re talking about Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, or any one of the other social networking sites that are out there, the rapid growth and constant usage of social networking has shown us the importance of information technology and […]

Read the full article →

Implementing Your Company’s Cybersecurity, Military Style

May 24, 2017

Implementing a cyber-defense system for your company sure sounds like a good thing for the person with the CIO job to do. Just exactly what does that mean? I guess you purchase and install tools that will allow you to detect if the bad guys are able to get in, you create policies for what […]

Read the full article →

Just Exactly How Legal Is It To Track Your Employees?

May 17, 2017

As the person with the CIO job, you have a great deal of power that comes with your assignment dealing with importance of information technology. The big question that you always need to be dealing with is just exactly how should you go about using this power? A great example of this has to do […]

Read the full article →

Should CIOs Learn How To Forgive?

May 10, 2017

Ah, the process of getting older. Each one of us is doing this every day and, with a little luck, we really don’t spent all that much time thinking about it. However, with increasing age comes more time for us to think about all of the things that have happened to us during our lives. […]

Read the full article →

Can A CIO Make The Company More Successful By Sharing?

May 3, 2017

As the person with the CIO job, you are sitting on a mountain of data about your company’s customers. Every time they purchase your product, call your support department, or even just visit your website because you understand the importance of information technology you collect more and more data about them and about what they […]

Read the full article →