CIO

  • Why hire a fractional CIOBy Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    There comes a point in many company’s growth when it becomes obvious that the investments made in IT haven’t kept pace with the business and this shortfall has now become a constraint. Your technology capabilities just aren’t good enough, but for reasons of either capacity or skill sets, your current in-house IT team is not able to rectify the situation. You realize that your organization could really benefit from the expertise of an experienced CIO (Chief Information Officer) to chart the way forward—but you either do not need or cannot afford to bring someone in on a full-time basis. This is where the fractional CIO comes in.

  • Mentoring IT ProfessionalsBy Steven McIntosh

    As a senior IT executive I've reached the point in my career where I feel it's important to take the time to give back to others that are just coming up the IT ladder. If you're at a similar point in your career, you probably feel the same way, too. So the questions become: How do you mentor IT professionals? What are the most important things to impart when mentoring IT professionals?

    While individual needs will differ, I believe that the following three items should always be on the list:

  • A part-time CIO for SMBs offers many advantagesBy Rocky Vienna
    Principal

    A witch’s brew of globalization, disruptive technology, and regulatory compliance has created a new set of challenges for business executives. Never before has Information Technology – and the knowledge and experience of a seasoned CIO – been so integral to a company’s success and outright survival.

    Whether yours is an emerging company, a small company or a mid-size company, having a part-time or fractional CIO serve on your Executive Management Team is the most effective way to get the benefits of having an experienced CIO without taking on the expense of having a CIO on staff full time.

    Why a part-time CIO will complete your team

    It’s common for small and mid-size businesses to have an infrastructure-centric IT manager who doesn’t yet have the business acumen of a seasoned CIO. This IT manager is vital for day-to-day IT management, but just isn’t capable of guiding the executive management team through strategic IT-related issues and opportunities. In addition, this junior team member does not have the experience to ensure that you have the proper business processes and related business systems in place to support growth.

  • Improving the chances of IT project successBy Ken Norland
    Associate

    The statistics are disheartening. A 2013 McKinsey survey confirmed what’s been an “open secret” for years: 71% of large IT projects have cost overruns, and on average these projects deliver 56% less value than predicted.

    Why? What causes these problems, and what can you do to improve the chances of IT project success?

  • A 4 Step Approach to BCPBy Stephen McGrady
    Principal

    As I discussed in my article on the difference between Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Disaster Recovery (DR) planning, Business Continuity Planning is about the operations side of disaster preparedness. How will you keep the business running after disaster strikes?

    When helping organizations address their Business Continuity Planning needs, CIO Professional Services uses a four-step approach: conduct a Business Impact Assessment, get Governance mechanisms defined and approved, prepare the team to handle Crisis Management, and create the Emergency Operating Plans (EOPs) for highly-impacted departments. Here’s an overview of how this works…

  • The scope and pace of change in Information Technology organizations can be overwhelming. Organizations that are doing things in the “same old way” are, by definition, rapidly becoming out-of-date and risk being ineffective

  • Several alternatives exist as to the method and location for performing business processes. Subject to certain constraints, these processes may be located anywhere in the world, and can be performed internally by the company or by other organizations...

  • IT Effectiveness AssessmentBy Jeff Richards
    Managing Partner

    Your company is growing. You know your organization needs to move fast, but in focusing on the business you may have underinvested in IT. Now IT has become such a constraint that you’re not sure your systems can keep up with the growth. On top of that, you’re concerned that IT and the lines of business may not even be on the same page.

    Or perhaps the CIO thinks that IT is doing fine, but the rest of the management team doesn’t understand what they’re getting for their IT investment. There’s even a concern that IT is too expensive. To make matters worse, you’re in a situation where the CEO can’t “speak IT,” and the CIO can’t “speak business”...and a complete disconnect has ensued.

    To get on track you need to quickly get your bearings and determine if you’re doing the right things, in the right order, and doing them well. An excellent way to do so is through an IT Effectiveness Assessment.

  • BCP vs DRBy Stephen McGrady
    Principal

    There’s nothing like the unthinkable happening to make businesses realize that the unthinkable really can and does happen. This was the case with the 9/11 attacks, which not only collapsed two towers, but also left a significant part of lower Manhattan closed for business for quite some time. By 9/12 the necessity of preparing for disasters was at the forefront of every executive’s mind.

    That said, disaster preparation is a multi-faceted endeavor. The two biggest aspects are known as Disaster Recovery (DR) planning and Business Continuity Planning (BCP). The following is a high-level introduction to both…

  • Business continuity planning ensures proper disaster recoveryBy Rocky Vienna
    Principal

    According to the U.S. government, up to 40% of businesses fail to reopen following a disaster. Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy have underscored the need for Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) planning. Here's what you need to know.

    Before we delve into the components of BC planning, let's clearly define the difference between Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. Disaster Recovery refers to the IT plan that assumes that an event (usually physical in nature, such as an earthquake or fire) has occurred, resulting in significant disruption to business computer systems. A Business Continuity Plan is the set of business procedures that enable business organizations to respond to an event that has disabled the company's business systems in part or in whole. Some events, such as the sudden loss of a key service vendor or supplier, do not require DR but still need to be considered for BC.

  • BCP for multiple problems at onceBy Stephen McGrady
    Principal

    If Hurricane Harvey and the magnitude 8.1 earthquake off the coast of Mexico didn’t get you thinking about whether your business is prepared to withstand a major disaster, chances are Hurricane Irma or Maria did.

    Like most professionals who work in the Business Continuity Planning (BCP) field, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the implications of having three major natural disasters strike in North America within a 1-1/2 week span. It’s become clear to me that even if you have what you thought was a solid plan in place to keep your business operating after a disaster, your plan might not be good enough. After all, most organizations put plans in place that address how they’ll recover from one disaster. Very few ever consider the possibility that the situation may be even worse than that.

  • Our Managing Partner, Jeff Richards, is quoted in this article in the November 7 issue of ComputerWorld.

    The latest in IT services? CIO hired guns

    Damon Neth hasn't had a full-time, salaried position with a company in nearly 20 years. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

    That's because Neth has built a lucrative career as an interim CIO. Highly qualified and rich in experience, he and other IT guns-for-hire possess a unique blend of IT expertise, business smarts and boardroom savvy. Rather than commit to cubicle life, interim CIOs transition from one client to the next with contracts typically spanning three months to two years, and annual compensation of six figures.

    Read more on COMPUTERWORLD...

    Get the PDF version...

  • Cloud computing and business strategy – why you’re going to have to make the moveBy Zeesham Kazmi
    Associate

    Chances are not a single day passes where you don't hear of some new advancement in the cloud. Cloud is a topic of strategy discussions in board meetings, and it impacts your family's connectivity at home. Unfortunately, there's still a huge FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) factor about cloud computing. In fact, a great deal of immobilizing FUD is portrayed regarding the security, legal and risk functions of the cloud; much of which is based on myths. Many CIOs also have questions about the cloud's costs and potential savings (including the human resources savings factor), as well as how moving to the cloud can impact the transformation of their organization.

  • Why data center consolidation is a good ideaBy Mark Tonnesen
    Associate

    Over the years, the norm within most IT organizations has been to want to own, manage and control things. The objective has been to have some control over the outcome and, ultimately, the success. As a result, many CIOs are still hosting their own data centers. While this approach probably made a lot of sense in the past, times have changed. The reality is, it's no longer a competitive advantage to own and run your own data center.

    To stay competitive, your priority needs to be the delivery of the services that ride on top of your data center infrastructure. That's why consolidating your data centers, virtualizing as much as possible, and partnering with a reputable hosting provider should be part of your strategic IT planning process.

  • Cybersecurity PlanBy Scott S. Smith
    Security Practice Lead

    Given the dramatically negative impact that a cybersecurity failure can have on your business, implementing a cybersecurity plan is mission critical. In my last article I talked about some of the business-driven needs that might drive your cybersecurity plan. Today I will address some of the steps you need to take to get a cybersecurity plan in place.

  • How to Help Your Project Manager SucceedBy Ken Norland
    Associate

    In my last article I gave some in-depth advice regarding “Picking the Right Project Manager for Your IT Project.” Once you have selected this person, it is your job as CIO to help your project manager succeed. The best way to do that is to ensure that your project manager is allowed to manage.

    What prevents project managers from managing?

    In my experience, the two most common problems that prevent project managers from actually managing are:

    1. Micromanagement from above – The people who oversee the project but are not in the project, start micromanaging the process.

    2. Misunderstanding of the project management role – The road to IT project failure is often paved by project managers who only take the “project reporter” role and not the “manager” role. These people attend or lead meetings, take notes, list issues and report on them to management. But they don’t drive these issues and problems to solutions and project progress – they wait for someone else to do that. This approach is guaranteed to fail in tough projects.

  • 7 Key Cybersecurity TacticsBy Scott S. Smith
    Security Practice Lead

    Given the fact that many organizations experience near-continuous cyberattack attempts, if you have not already done so, getting a robust cybersecurity plan in place is a must. This plan needs to be tailored to address your organization’s business requirements, culture and risk tolerance around cybersecurity. It also will need to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and laws, and include plans for how to respond if, in spite of your best efforts, a security breach takes place. You don’t want to be in Equifax’s situation, where a hacker’s ability to exploit what was most likely a known weakness has now put millions of consumers’ identity and financial security at risk. The government, your customers and the general public are all losing their tolerance for disasters that happen when known problems are ignored.

  • Increasing Business / IT Alignment When Getting from Need to SolutionBy Paul Hoekstra
    Associate

    It has been estimated that over 70% of all system outages are a direct result of changes that have been made to the operational environment. It's no coincidence that at many organizations, IT has in effect lost control of the production environment and is in constant firefighting mode. The regular unpredicted downtimes, missed deadlines and cost overruns deteriorates the value of the IT organization as a whole and the trust in the CIO in particular.

  • Leveraging LEAN to increase business / IT alignmentBy Paul Hoekstra
    Associate

    As an IT executive and consultant I've seen firsthand that many IT organizations are struggling to deliver relevant services to the business. There's a misalignment between what the CIO is trying to do and what his or her counterparts in sales, customer service, finance, human resources, etc. are trying to do. And what I've seen is that this absence of business / IT alignment often stems from the IT group not having the people or approach to understand the business from an operational point of view.

    As a result, I often see situations where, for example, the HR Director goes directly to a cloud provider and simply buys a solution – reducing the IT department's involvement to just doing a security check and integrating the solution for the login. This diminishes the value of IT as an organization, which in turn leads to inefficiencies and ineffectiveness across the entire business.

  • Mark has joined CIOPS as an Associate.  Here’s his recent article on CIO Leadership styles:

    Neustar Inc. is a global information services provider and a leader in connection science, but it faces the same challenges as any other organization. For Mark Tonnesen, the chief information officer, chief strategy officer, and vice president of operations, the focus remains on the end consumer, and how to deliver a product better, faster, and cheaper.

    “We may be selling our products and services through a B2B model, but we still have to consider the end consumer as we think about design, packaging, and delivering those products and services,” Tonnesen says. “To me, the new challenge is how we can package those in a way that we can deliver them faster, continuously meeting or exceeding their expectations, so we have the immediacy of new features and functions, or pricing and discounting and packaging together as one.”

    Read more at Sync Magazine...

CIO Professional Services LLC is a top-rated IT consulting firm, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in strategic IT consulting and business / IT alignment. Companies come to us seeking assistance with their information technology strategy as well as to source interim CIO / CTO employees or fractional CIO / CTO's. Our IT experts can assist with integrating IT into your business processes - better - up to and including 'project rescue' in areas such as ITSM / ITIL, IT service strategy, and IT outsourcing. Business / IT strategy projects we have worked on include upgrading ERP systems, cybersecurity and IT consulting, IT assessment and organizational change. Cloud computing and business IT remain critical in today's business systems, and beyond that to the migration to the cloud of business IT. Our IT consultants can assist with all aspects of business / information technology alignment. Contact us today for a free phone consultation - we service clients not only in San Francisco or San Jose, but throughout the United States.

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