How to keep the CIO relevant in an age of decentralised IT spending

'They will not be able to ride the wave of consumerisation that is sweeping across all businesses if they do not evolve'

 How to keep the CIO relevant in an age of decentralised IT spending


Have CIOs have had their day as the face of IT decision-making within organisations?

In previous years, IT managers and CIOs had sole control over IT spend and implementation, but are increasingly finding that their influence over this area is decreasing.

Today, line-of-business departmental heads with a variety of job titles, and from a variety of backgrounds, are making software deployment decisions within organisations that significantly impact the productivity of their staff.

Indeed, a recent study from Gartner has shown that although CIOs still oversee and maintain the majority of IT spending, there has been a recent shift away from centralised IT buying decisions.

>See also: The dangers of shadow IT

Today, business leaders are taking more ownership and getting more involved that ever in the IT decision-making process than ever before.

The consumerisation of IT has also been significant in eroding the power CIOs once wielded. Now that every employee has a smartphone or iPad, a new age of business decision-making has emerged.

Excellence in user experience in the consumer arena is driving expectations of department heads for similar experiences with business solutions. Department heads want to find business solutions for themselves without waiting for IT.

The lack of a consistent, unified approach to software deployment undermines the CIOs control and makes a security breach more likely.

So, how do CIOs survive in this brave new world of de-centralised IT?

It is becoming increasingly clear that CIOs must adapt to a position of governance and consultancy and promote new tools that will allow those from a non-IT background to thrive.

CIOs must understand that they will not survive if they try to maintain a monopoly on technology spends within their organisation.


Firstly, CIOs can play a valuable part in advising the various heads of departments before they part with their cash.

With an oversight of all solutions, the CIO will be able to ensure that every department head understands the security implications that come with choosing new software, and take on an advisory role for this new set of decision makers in the organisation.

In successfully adapting, they will become influential in pointing these decision-makers in the direction of solutions that are pre-configured for quick deployment.


This will get teams up and running fast for secure mobile collaboration across organisational boundaries, and will deliver increased team productivity immediately.

This is not to say that CIOs will no longer be a part of the decision-making process. This simply represents a shift from a tactical position to one that is more strategic.

It is easy to imagine future CIOs as being more like the whips of Westminster. Instead of agonising over votes, they will be hounding down departmental heads that ignore the security risks associated with their decision-making. This will be their new method of governance.


In this way, CIOs will become enablers to a new age of business decision-makers. They will be the go-to guys who can consult on issues like productivity and security, ensuring that each business unit is using software that maintains the same standards.  

This enables CIOs to keep all sensitive business data secure and compliant, without interfering with the varying workflows that different teams in their organisation have.

>See also: 6 tips to avoiding rogue IT


Advising in favour of the right solutions to get teams easily and securely connected to the people and content they need, wherever they are, will be the way CIOs get business done in future.

Clearly, they will not be able to ride the wave of consumerisation that is sweeping across all businesses if they do not evolve.

This changing of the times means that if they can’t beat them, CIOs will have to join them.


Sourced from Paul Steiner, managing director EMEA, Accellion

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