Chief Information Officer’s (CIO’s) today face daily technology changes, cyber security threats and managing employees and vendors in a whole new way. In many areas it is difficult to find technologists locally and to maintain or afford the expertise and specialties internally. CIO’s are no longer managing within their walls, but a virtual workforce of specialists, commoditized products and hosting vendors.
The roles and responsibilities of the CIO have changed to meet these demands. The CIO must be a strategist within the organization, have the ability to move beyond the purely technical components needed in the organization to the larger vision of what can be and the best place or vendor to accomplish the goals. Completing and understanding the value proposition of the in/out for various offerings and being able to clearly communicate those needs, reasons and justifications to the board, executive management team and staff.
Additionally, the CIO must be able to manage a workforce that is out of sight and out of your direct control. One of the questions we are often asked is “how do I know everything is being done?” For example, it is much more difficult when you can’t call a staff meeting and, “see,” everyone but it can be accomplished successfully. It is largely dependent on vendor selection, a robust vendor management program, trusted advisors, open communication and adjusting your method of management.
Mapping out your network, processes and controls both in/out as well as assigning responsibility is a good way to confirm that you are operating as intended. This platform creates a starting point when new products or services are requested or issues occur. A deep understanding of the integrations, where the responsibility lies and the appropriate contacts will save time when a need arises.
In the same way, you wouldn’t expect your employees to infer what you require you can’t expect your vendors to. Outside of the service level agreement (SLA) base requirements, establishing reoccurring check-ins, reporting and evaluation points with the vendors and confirming that your needs are being met is vital to a strong working relationship. Your vendors should provide ways in which they can help you and your organization.