How CIOs Deal With Mobile Disruption

by drjim on October 29, 2014

Mobile disruptions can happen at any time

Mobile disruptions can happen at any time
Image Credit

As CIO, because of the importance of information technology, you need to get ready to deal with the disruptions that that arrival of even more mobile technology is going to create. The customers that your company serves are going to expect to be able to interact with the company using their mobile phones more and more. Will you be ready?

This Changes Everything

One of the biggest impacts that the arrival of new mobile technology is having is that how various groups communicate is being fundamentally altered. As the person in the CIO position you need to understand who wants to connect with who and find ways to make it happen.

As CIO you are being challenged to change the way that you think about how your IT department offers services to the rest of the company. Your goal has to be find ways to change how the IT department offers services in order to allow employees to both consume and take advantage of the IT services that the company offers.

What your customers are now expecting from you is to be able to get anywhere / anytime access to the company’s data. With this information the company is going to be able to move faster. The results will be seen in customer service, decision making, and the closing of sales.

It’s All About Security

Along with the incredible power that wireless access to company data comes a whole new set of security issues. As CIO you are going to have to realize that gone are the days in which the IT department could limit the devices that people used or the applications and services that they use on those devices.

More and more the departments in your company are going to be taking on `basic IT functions. This means that it is going to be the IT department’s responsibility to create and implement overall security policies. You are going to have to implement mobile initiatives that allow enable and support the objectives of the company.

One of the biggest security challenges that you will be facing is that the arrival of smartphones has the effect of extending the boundaries of the company. Applications may now run on servers that are controlled by vendors with no relationship with your company. This means that the IT department is going to be kept busy permitting and / or denying access to sensitive company information.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Managing all of those mobile devices can quickly become a headache for any IT department. What you need to realize as a CIO is that what used to be a relatively simple issue of managing mobile devices has now morphed into a much larger challenge of enterprise mobile management.

One of the biggest mobile management challenges that your IT department is going to be facing is trying to isolate and secure company applications and data from employees personal applications and data.

Additionally, just because company data is easy to access from any mobile device does not mean that you want your employees to be passing on company data outside of the company. That’s where mobile data-loss prevention tools come into play. These tools can enforce policies that prevent employees from transmitting company data outside of the organization.

What All Of This Means For You

Sorry, you can’t hide your head in the sand and just hope that the mobile revolution will go away. Instead, you are going to have to do your homework and understand what all of the changes that are happening in the mobile field are going to mean to your company.

The first thing that you need to understand is that the arrival of mobile devices will change not only how your company’s customers interact with the company, but also how the company’s employees interact with each other. Making so much information available via mobile devices means that security is going to become an even bigger issue. Finally, your company’s applications and data are going to have to learn to live with your employee’s personal applications and data.

The good news is that as the person with the CIO job, you will be able to find a way to get the company’s systems to live in this new mobile enabled world. The bad news is that it’s not going to be easy to do. You are going to have to change how your IT department interacts with its users and its data. Start making these changes today and you won’t get caught flat footed later on!

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

Question For You: Do you think that you should create a committee to help make mobile decisions for the company?

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

It’s interesting to realize just how important the skill of negotiating is to CIOs. Sure, we all know about the importance of information technology , but when you think about it, we spend a great deal of our time negotiating no matter if it is with vendors, other departments, or even members of our IT team. Since we do so much of this, we should always be looking for ways to get better at it…

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If you are going to throw a retreat, then do it well

If you are going to throw a retreat, then do it well
Image Credit

Every CIO is looking to solve the same puzzle: what do they have to do in order to get the most productivity out of their IT department? It turns out that sometimes the solution to this puzzle is to temporarily forget the importance of information technology and take the IT department out of the company and go on a retreat. However, if you do a poor job of throwing a retreat, then it will all be for naught. How can a CIO make a retreat create the results that he or she is looking for?

Breakout Sessions

The first question that has to be answered about any retreat that you throw for the IT department is just exactly why you are throwing it? Ultimately, you are going to want to use this expensive use of your department’s time to communicate information to your staff. This is going to require breakout sessions.

The ultimate goal of any breakout sessions that you host needs to be to boost your staff’s understanding about what is going on in other parts of the IT department. One of the biggest problems that IT departments face is that we can all get too involved in our own job. When this happens, we lose the ability to realize that everyone else is perhaps working just as hard as we are.

You can use breakout sessions to solve this problem. Every breakout session should have two goals associated with it. The first, of course, is to educate the people who attend it. The second needs to be to get them to understand and appreciate just how hard everyone else has been working.

It’s All In The Details

An IT department retreat will only last for a short time. What this means for you is that the long lasting value of putting something like this on is to create memories for your staff that will last long after the actual event is over.

The first thing that as the person with the CIO job you need to realize is that the IT department’s retreat is not the place to go cheap. Yes, you need to keep a careful eye on your IT budget at all times, but the retreat needs to be done correctly and that is going to require you to spend some money.

The more that you spend on throwing the retreat, the more that your IT department will feel that you are investing in them. It can be tempting to try to make a retreat be a one day event, don’t. Instead make the investment in time and money and stretch it to two days – everyone will have a chance to get into the mood and it will create a long lasting benefit for the department.

What All Of This Means For You

This management thing is hard to do. Nobody ever taught you how to motivate and keep an entire department together over time. It turns out that one of the most powerful tools that you have in your toolbox is the department retreat. However, it’s only going to be worth the expense and effort if you know how to do it correctly.

Ultimately, now that you have the CIO position, one of the goals of your next IT department retreat has to be to educate everyone in the department. This means planning the breakout sessions that everyone wants to attend and making sure that they learn. Additionally, it’s how you handle the details that will matter the most in the end. This means don’t go cheap and make sure that everyone feels that you recognized them.

I like to think of IT department retreats as a very big cell phone battery charger. Your department may be operating at low power and a retreat done correctly can boost their energy level. Take the time to understand how to do a retreat correctly and then watch as your IT department comes back to life!

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

Question For You: How many times per year do you think that a CIO should throw a retreat for the IT department?

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

As CIO, because of the importance of information technology, you need to get ready to deal with the disruptions that that arrival of even more mobile technology is going to create. The customers that your company serves are going to expect to be able to interact with the company using their mobile phones more and more. Will you be ready?

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