Management

What worries private sector CIOs, and why it matters to feds

Shutterstock image (by Ismagilov): Businessman with arrows pointing left and right.

On the cusp of a “mega innovation cycle,” CIOs in the private sector have plenty to worry about – and those worries have as much to do with people as they do technology.

In a survey commissioned by Brocade last year and released May 12, 200 global CIOs opened up about their stresses and challenges, revealing a broad spate of concerns.

Much consternation was technical: More than half of the CIOs said they spend more than half of their time “reactively” working to keep existing systems running – “keeping the lights on” – while 79 percent said they were worried about delivering new services in support of business growth, and 77 percent said they worried about better data mining and analytics delivery.

But the human element was also on display.

CIOs cited a loss of control as a major concern, with 83 percent saying their organizations will likely plow ahead on cloud procurement without IT input – making their jobs more difficult and networks less secure – and 82 percent saying the evolving technological landscape is making them fear for their jobs.

Are private CIOs’ worries reflected in government?

“[Private and federal CIOs’ concerns] are very similar,” said Anthony Robbins, vice president of federal sales at Brocade.

Robbins said the “consternation around change” demonstrates the huge “mega shift” getting underway in technology, as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, social media and big data combine to radically revise how organizations – public and private – do business.

“Do we have innovation in the leaders who are driving change?” was the key question  for all organizations, Robbins said.

The right combination of tech and leadership will be crucial for any organization riding the waves of change, he said, pointing to Brocade’s conceptualization of the “old IP” – single-vendor, hardware-centric networks – and the “new IP” of open source, multivendor, software-defined environments.

And while private companies might be further along the “mega shift” evolution path than the government, the fact that their CIOs are still worrying about a host of issues should hearten federal agencies facing daunting challenges.

About the Author

Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.

Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.

Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.

Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.


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