Cloud, AI, CEX, SEIM, Digital Transformation, Smart Cities, My...
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Cloud, AI, CEX, SEIM, Digital Transformation, Smart Cities, My Brain is About to Explode!

By Michael Mayta, CIO, City of Wichita Kansas

Michael Mayta, CIO, City of Wichita Kansas

Keeping up continues to be a challenge, prioritizing what you scan, what you follow-up on and what you can fit in squeezes the clock each day. Sound familiar? Good, then you are a normal CIO with many plates spinning at the same time. Reports on “Skills for Digital Transformation,” 5G, security, change management the list is inexhaustible. Sometimes you stare at the screen and think, “I cannot consume everything I need to know.” Inevitably there is a five-stage model that will help you as a CIO to improve, deploy or fix any issue that comes your way. I wonder who has the time to research, ponder and develop such models. I feel guilty spending time writing this short article when I should be defending our pricing model or making sure the 30 plus projects due before year-end are on track. Perhaps just writing about the challenges provides some form of therapy, I’m not really sure. As CIO’s we are supposed to have all the answers. Ours is a profession that, it seems, anyone can do given the right circumstances (placing a person in charge of IT that has no experience in the field). This is a real pet peeve of mine, if that is true, make me the CFO, I have a checkbook at home. But I digress, IT today is an exceptionally complex field and one that continues to change, challenge and consume. IBM and Risk.net conducted a survey, and more than 75 percent of survey respondents see machine learning as a driver for decision making and analytics success. Perhaps this will provide the relief I need for decision-making. Most of you reading this, believe at this point that I have gone over the edge and need a rest. That could be true, but we are all in this, it is the same for every CIO. You say, don’t lump us all together, I have it together, I am confident, intelligent, successful, moving the business forward. Well, we are all like that, but the facts remain, there is more and more to review, contemplate, learn, get frustrated about, decide and act upon than in the history of this profession and I do not see it slowing down anytime soon do you? Just segmenting valuable data from marketing content is a skill-set in and of itself. The constant push from vendors to move to platforms that they tell you will save money and resources then show you colorful charts describing the high percentages of (for example) Cloud migration. Is that true? Is everyone else moving to the Cloud because everything they read says it is the best approach? I would like to think that every CIO reviews the ROI or cost/benefit, views the total cost of ownership of a Cloud migration to understand the overall costs fully. I am also sure that in our haste to move and accomplish, in the back of our mind the thought remains, “everyone else is doing this, it must cost less. Do I really need to spend the time gathering all that data? Whether we consider it at the time, marketing is effective. We are all bombarded with constant data on magic quadrants, best practices, surveys and outcomes from other implementations. Does it simply become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

"The speed of change is increasing as is the amount and complexity of technologies"

Consider, for instance, this measure of success: Three years ago, Company X had only 10% of its infrastructure and the computing needs in the cloud, but now it has 90% in the cloud! Wow, simply moving to compute to the Cloud is a measure of success? Really? Perhaps success for the hosting services that derive income from Cloud hosting and perhaps the business unit that gains flexibility in ramping up or down based on need and paying for only what is used. But to make a general statement that-simply moving compute to the Cloud is a measure of success, is stupid. Every decision should be a business decision if it makes sense to move to the Cloud then, by all means, move there, but if there are no business drivers and the cost is more (as we have found in many cases), functionality is equal or less then why make that decision? Simply to say you’ve moved to the Cloud? More marketing fodder.

It may sound like I need a nap, while that is true, I have simply written what we all are thinking. The speed of change is increasing as is the amount and complexity of technologies. All of the reasons I love this profession, our ability to change and make a difference in our organizations, communities and the world are limited only by our ability to learn, adjust and implement the right tech at the right time in the right situation. I will leave you with this, some of you will have taken exception to my earlier statement about leading IT and not having an IT background (which is because that describes you) if I have learned nothing else in over thirty years of doing this it is that nothing is ever black or white. In some cases and situations it works, in others, it does not. I only pose the question as to why it seems ok for top management to consider hiring non-IT people into IT leadership positions, yet rarely are IT leaders considered for anything outside of technology. When in fact, the CIO has the most complete view of the organization in today’s environment.Something else to think about while I nap.

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