Here’s an intriguing prediction for the new year. According to the publication, Security Week, “In 2019, more organizations than ever before will consolidate responsibility for both IT and OT security and elevate the Board’s visibility.”
IT (Information technology) – The compute, storage and networking technologies that make up the backbone of your organization’s ability to share, analyze and manipulate information electronically.
OT (operations technology) – The technology that allows you to do what you do. Every business has its own unique OT. For a healthcare provider, that might be a device such as an XRAY machine. For a manufacturer, it could be an intelligent piece of equipment on a manufacturing line.
With more and more OT devices being equipped with “intelligence” and connected to the core IT systems, some consolidation of security responsibilities makes sense. At the very least, IT and OT leaders need to collaborate closely to ensure systems and data are protected.
A cautionary tale for IT executives
In many industries, this convergence of IT and OT responsibilities is extending beyond security. OT leaders tend to be experts in outcomes, e.g., I need a device that will allow us to perform a specific function. Much of the equipment acquired by operations is going to need support from IT to set up and integrate into existing systems.
But CIOs and CTOs need to be careful that they don’t give up too much of their responsibilities lest they be relegated to the sidelines. Healthcare is one industry in which this may be happening already.
Black Book Research conducted a study of more than 1500 healthcare executives in 2018 and compared it to the results from a similar study conducted in 2015. In just three years, healthcare CIOs went from controlling 71% of purchasing decisions to just 8%. This tells me that a significant number of the organizations included in this study do not see their IT leaders as strategic contributors to the organization.
The challenge for many CIOs and CTOs often boils down to “too much to do and too little time (or resources). “They would be more strategic if only they weren’t so busy putting out fires.
What will you stop doing in 2019?
Time management experts will frequently suggest that success isn’t so much about what you do as it is about what you stop doing. The percentage of organizations that choose to outsource at least some of their day-to-day tasks continues to rise. According to a recent study by KPMG, 40% of CIOs said they planned to increase their spending on outsourcing.
For many businesses, this may mean decommissioning an on-premises data center and moving to a managed cloud environment. For others, it might mean working with a managed services provider that can provide remote monitoring of your on-premises systems. Either way, a qualified managed cloud provider can handle many of the day-to-day tasks that suck up so much of your time and keep you from proving your strategic value to the organization.
“Connectria’s solution has freed us of the demands involved with maintaining IT systems and infrastructure. No longer do we have to worry whether we’ll have the IT resources to acquire additional customers. With Connectria, we now scale on demand.”
Emily DeMerchant, Director ConexSys
Evaluate your to-do list
As you think about how you can be a more strategic IT leader in 2019, here are some questions to ask:
- Which of our most time-consuming activities add little strategic value to the organization? (E.g., hardware maintenance, network management, etc.)
- Which important responsibilities should we be spending more time on? (E.g., disaster recovery and business continuity.)
- Which activities can’t we cover because we simply don’t have enough people?
- Which activities do we not have the in-house expertise needed to meet organizational expectations? (E.g., security and compliance.)
- What would we be spending time on if time were not a constraint? (E.g., artificial intelligence, big data analytics, automation, etc.)
Looking to cross some responsibilities off your to-do list? Give us a call. We’d happy to review your IT approach and suggest ways we may be able to help.