How strong are your ties to your customers and how closely are you working with them? Not sure? Then be careful you don’t fall victim to being reassigned to somewhere cold!
The weather is warming noticeably, and there are tangible signs that Spring is fast approaching. This may come as a shock to those in the Mid-West, or back East, as they continue to see the snow piled high, but out on the west coast, in southern California, it’s all blue sky and sunshine.
This morning I caught the first un-baffled roar from a Harley Davidson motorcycle being fired up for the first time, and as I passed its owner we both agreed: it’s now official, as there’s nothing more tangible than a motorcycle being unplugged from its battery feeder and being brought back to the real world.
It sure beats having to live in the Snow Belt, however, and having to dig-out from under the many blizzards that have dumped on the region. Having coffee with friends in this warmer weather the conversation often tends to gravitate to how fortunate we are not to have earned reassignments back East!
I was reminded of this, and yes, in a very tangible manner, when I skimmed through the latest issue of InformationWeek and came across the regular feature, global CIO. Columnist, Bob Evans, always makes the read worthwhile and is never at a loss for stirring the pot. This week, it’s all about the Top 10 priorities and issues for 2011, as far as CIO’s are concerned.
Residing at the bottom of the Top 10 list are entries such as “The importance of being Global” as well as “CIO’s as Chief Acceleration Officer” and I was about to turn to something else when I came across the entry “Customer engagement soars to unprecedented levels.” CIO’s engaging with their customers?
Surely not – it’s only a few paragraphs further into the feature article that the author reflects on how, for most CIOs, only a few years ago the “larger concern back then was keeping core operations humming along predictably and mechanistically.” CEO’s seemed to tolerate how “internal IT operations gobbled up most of the IT budget – often 78% or 80% or even more.”
No longer! Customers are “demanding to be more involved in product design, supply chain synchronization, technical support, road map planning, and scheduling optimization.” As a result, CEO’s see that the better “CIO is absolutely indispensible in moving this from a daunting and unfamiliar prospect to a source of unique and enduring competitive advantage.”
Wow! How many CIOs will want to force their way into this exchange or take on the responsibility? Among the NonStop community, CIOs have grown comfortable with the rock-solid reliability that comes with running the NonStop stack and the constant record-levels of availability they provide when compared to other systems and servers – but I’m not so sure they turn to NonStop as often as they should when their customers want to engage them in road map discussions.
Perhaps they should? Any quick check of the media of late highlights how many discussions are taking place about the support of modern tablet PCs, including iPads, for instance, and it should be a given to have NonStop included in the exchanges.
It’s typically the CEO’s iPad, after all, and he will want to access company information from anywhere in the world – at any time! You have to think, when its high level executives demanding connectivity that the CIO’s SLA’s will be updated to add an expanded scope that includes the bosses iPad. After all, this is a vastly different set of circumstances than responding to customers, and turning to the rock-solid, reliable NonStop may happen more quickly!
The feature wraps up this entry on customer engagement with the challenge to CIOs on how “nobody’s going to ask you if you ‘want a seat at the table’ – you’ll either have proved you’re capable and be engaged in the discussion already, or you’ll be reassigned to the infrastructure maintenance team.” Ouch … perhaps there are opportunities worse than being reassigned back east to the Snow Belt, after all!