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Blog March 8, 2019

Are IT Leaders Giving Up Too Much Responsibility?

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.”

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 percent of purchasing decisions to just 8 percent. 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.

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