Sean Curran, former COO of CCLA Investments and CFO of BGC Brokerage, kindly contributed the following article on the true business value of I.T.:
The IT press conveys the impression that the key issues facing the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) today revolve around data, security, the use of cloud and the implications of the rise of the bring-your-own-device-to-work generation. But the view from the boardroom is different.
The CEO’s priority is to grow the business. He wants to do this by introducing new products, opening up new communication and delivery channels, increasing repeat business through information-lead loyalty schemes and wider, richer customer interactions, by attracting new customers through targeted marketing campaigns and by smarter, more relevant interactions through social media.
The CEO wants the IT infrastructure to be flexible, scalable, agile and to provide a cost effective service delivery. He wants innovative IT with good governance, the time to market to be fast and solutions to be mobile and customer-friendly from the start.
Applications are moving to the web. Employees are using their own mobile devices. Cloud-based, consumer applications are creeping into the business. The union of social/mobile IT with transactional capabilities give companies a new way to move at the speed of their customers and new methods for engaging with customers to build multifaceted relationships rather than linear transactions. The big challenge for the CTO is to put IT into a position to enable the business to take advantage of these and other new opportunities.
Today many CTOs serve a relatively tactical role and are responsible for technology provisioning, break/fix support, software and hardware upgrades and operational support, including email, application support and password management. However simply being able to keep the ship afloat and hold costs within budget is probably no longer enough.