CIOs Are Discovering That Humans Are Important Too

It turns out that humans are an important part of every IT department
It turns out that humans are an important part of every IT department
Image Credit:
Black Knights

As the person with the CIO job, you have a very important question that you have to find the answer to. What is more important to your IT department: people or technology. We spend a great deal of time thinking and learning about technology because we understand the importance of information technology. Our ability to use more and more technology to further automate how our company does business seems to be increasing every day. One way to look at the future is that ultimately machines will do all of the work and the IT department really won’t need people (except for you) any more. Can this be correct?

Why Humans Matter

So why would humans matter in a world that is more and more being occupied by cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and an internet of things? It turns out that those humans that you employ in your IT department have a number of unique skills that we just have not been able to teach to computers as of yet. Humans have the ability to be creative and to use problem-solving skills to find the answers to tricky problems. These are skills that your IT department is always going to need.

I think that we can all agree that the future will be different from the present. Right now it’s looking like the machines that we mange in the IT department are going to start to take over. This really is not a bad thing. The machines are going to be triggering IT processes that we humans have been doing. However, even as this starts to happen we humans will still have a role to play in the IT department.

The person in the CIO position has more technology at their control than ever before. Technologies such as machine learning are being used to allow the company to better understand their customer’s behavior. The ultimate goal is to be able to predict a customer’s behavior. As fancy as the computers that perform these functions are, humans will always be required assets. Humans are the ones who can mine customer information for insights. We are the ones who have the ability to experiment with new ideas, question paradigms, and empathize with the company’s customers.

What Humans Will Be Doing In The Future

As the CIO you are going to be responsible for determining how best to make use of the humans that you have. The experts believe that the way that IT teams are formed is going to start to change in the future. The thinking is that your IT employees are going to find themselves starting to form “mission based teams that solve a problem”. The employees will come together and create small teams. These teams will form and then disband at different rates.

IT employees will be forming smaller and more mission-driven teams as IT automation starts to take over more and more of how the company operates. It is believed that within the next five to seven years IT groups are going to be up to 40% smaller. At the same time they are going to be faster and more specialized. This will be the case due to a number of different factors including the company’s shift into the cloud and the fact that more and more of the IT department has been automated.

As the company’s CIO, it’s going to be your hope that your IT department is going to be able to add value to the company going forward. You’ll be able to use smaller IT groups that are built using employees who come from specialized areas such as security, big data, and mobility. The reason that these teams will be so valuable is because they will have the ability to work on projects that will make the company more competitive and work with technologies that can help to increase the company’s revenue.

What All Of This Means For You

Every CIO is in charge of two things: technology and people. As the technology increases in functionality, the question comes up as to what value the people on your team continue to provide. One may start to think that ultimately technology will take over and the people will no longer be needed. However, it turns out that you’ll always need your people.

Humans are going to continue to matter to IT departments because humans can do things that are just not possible to accomplish with computers. The company wants to better understand their customer’s needs and computers can do a great job of collecting and processing vast collections of information. However, humans will always be required in order to interpret what the data is saying. As technology starts to perform more of the tasks that IT departments used to do, you’ll see smaller and smaller IT teams. These teams will come together, accomplish a task, and then move on. These teams will help to boost the value of the company.

Managing technology is a challenging task. Managing people can be even more difficult. However, as the company’s CIO you need to realize that your humans are your most important resource. The role of your IT staff is going to be changing as more and more technology rolls out in your company; however, your human workers will always be your most valuable resource.

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

Question For You: How do you think that the IT department should change in order to better support more smaller teams in the future?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you have new people join your department, they generally do so with a great deal of excitement – they understand the importance of information technology. There are a lot of things that they want to accomplish and they are looking forward to learning many new things. However, over time this has a habit of changing. Over time you are almost guaranteed to have a dip in morale. Surveys have been done and what they have found is that this affliction hits roughly 70% of the people who will be joining your department. What’s the person with the CIO job to do?