By Paul Vecchiato, Viostream, CTO
The role of a CIO today would be barely recognisable to someone in the position a decade ago as technologies such as cloud computing have radically altered day to day operations. But freeing the IT department from its rack, stack and patch existence brings challenges. Paramount amongst these is the fight to remain part of the conversation when almost anyone with a credit card can provision a new service or application.
Fortunately, the TED Talks at this year’s TEDxSydney contained plenty of advice on how the smart CIO can move their department beyond a cost centre and position themselves as a vital asset for building the business.
Embrace Being Out of Your Depth
When you’re the IT leader everyone looks to you for answers on anything even remotely tech-related. Given the rapid pace of change in technology and the emergence of new applications seemingly overnight it’s impossible to be informed about everything and the demands of trying to keep on top of it all can be overwhelming. Feeling ill-equipped when you’re supposed to be ‘the expert’ might make you want to shy away from debate, but it’s exactly those times when you should push on through says Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes. He argues that everyone feels “imposter syndrome” no matter how successful they are and that it should be utilised as a learning opportunity. Continue asking questions and learning even when you feel out of your depth.
Think Like a Computer
With disruptive technologies, it’s difficult to decide when to jump and when to wait for a better option. If you’re prone to sitting around waiting for the perfect time to make a choice then Tom Griffiths has the solution for you. The professor of psychology and cognitive science suggests relying on the “optimal stopping problem,” a mathematical theory used in computer algorithms to make tough choices. It works by choosing a certain time to decide an outcome to increase the likelihood of it being in your favour. For example, when buying a house, it’s impossible to see every property in the market. Your best option is to see, say, 37 per cent of the market and then buy the one that’s better than the average instead of searching for a perfection that might not exist. Ideal opportunities are next to impossible, but you can take some of the stress away and settle for a pretty good option instead of by taking a quantitative-based approach.
Bring in the Creatives
The best person to have by your side isn’t just the numbers guy anymore, but the creative one. Technology development requires the involvement of creative types more than ever says scientist and engineer Elanor Huntington. As our world becomes more interconnected it needs to be built so it services people first, not require them to adapt to the technology. Huntington says it’s essential to encourage creatives to get more involved with tech development as they can see solutions to roadblocks during every stage. Rather than trying to make everything perfect on the first try and tinkering with ideas forever, they go out of their way to find problems to reach the best possible result. Creatives want to solve complex problems with the help of technology so it’s worth bringing in a few to join your team next time you’re faced with a tricky project.
It is not enough to just simply integrate technology within a business. It’s up to CIOs to consider the newest innovations and work with the business to determine how they can embrace the ones that will get them where they need to be.
This article also appeared in CIO Magazine.
Paul is responsible for leading the technology function at Viostream, ensuring our customers have uninterrupted access to a reliable, secure and effective product. This incorporates infrastructure, software development and dev ops. Paul is an avid Sydney FC supporter.