CIOs must join the era of empowerment

Harnessed correctly, the mobile app internet can be tremendously powerful, says Forrester's Ted Schadler

Talk to any CIO and one issue inevitably surfaces: How do CIOs cope in a world where they can’t keep up with what their employees are doing?

The answer, according to Forrester vice-president and principle analyst, Ted Schadler, is to join them.

Schadler, who is in Australia for Forrester’s Empowered event is also co-author, with Josh Bernoff, of a book by the same name.

IT, he says, is stuck in the between customer and employee demand and the more prosaic but necessary issues such as compliance, governance, regulatory regimes and intellectual property.

And whether CIOs endorse it or not, their workforce, or a good proportion of it, is already mobile — working anywhere, anytime, on any device, driven by the combination of mobile applications and Cloud delivery.

Schadler has blogged extensively on how this combination disrupts the IT status quo. He refers to the phenomenon as ‘The mobile app internet’.

“The client-server environment is dead — finally,” he said.

Read more in how to adapt to the empowered era.

Harnessed correctly, the mobile app internet can be tremendously powerful for CIOs and their organisations. But it requires three key things to happen:

  1. Discussions around security must be elevated from a technical risk to business risks — and CEOs and CIOs must take responsibility for the risk.

  2. The enterprise culture must support business-led innovation.

  3. CIOs and their peers must recognise and enable a new way of working — ‘teleworking’ as it is often called, is here to stay.

“People spend as much time, on average, working from home as they spend doing personal stuff at work,” Schadler said. “It’s a ‘work anywhere’ future, and CIOs have to change the way their provision services to employees.”

Easier said than done, you say. It is indeed challenging, Schadler says, but having a application development strategy around mobile applications — ensuring independent software vendors are targeting all the devices that employees and customers use — is one way to mitigate the considerable headaches of a “multi-device reality”.

Then there’s thin client technology, which has hovered on the periphery for years without making any lasting impact.

“When you looked at it closely, the economics were not that good,” Schadler said. “But when you think about it in terms of access on mobile devices, all of a sudden, the business case is much more attractive.”

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Tags social mediaCIO roleforresterempowered businessTed Schadler

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