The changing role of modern day CIOs: an interview with Jon Hunter, BMC

Jon Hunter is Global Head of Sales, Digital Service Management, at BMC and has more than 20 years enterprise IT experience specializing in large scale transformations and taking high- growth organizations to a new level. Jon was recently interviewed about the changing role of modern day CIOs and how they can navigate the hybrid IT environment.

Welcome Jon! Thanks for partnering with me to share your perspective on the role of the CIO today with our readers. 

You're welcome.

Today's CIO role is all about focusing on the business and speaking their language to accelerate products and services in a hybrid IT environment.

In a previous position, my team had hundreds of conversations with CIOs across all industries and geographies. Interestingly, when they were asked “How long does a new idea take to get to production from their CIO?" they answered either “I don’t know” or “18 months.”

The rest is cloud services history. 

The CIO community has had to totally change its mindset and charter since then. They are now required to “earn” their business by delighting end users with innovative solutions while cutting costs and keeping everyone out of trouble. This is done by:

  • Quickly accomplishing key objectives. This is the language of “bubbles”—moving big initiatives tied to money/revenue (i.e. bubbles) to production fast. That is the priority.
  • Funding transformative initiatives by taking 20% out of the OpEx budget, even if they get zero credit for it. They do it as their night job.
  • Simplifying existing complexities: servers, approvals, cycle time, etc. The more the CIO doesn’t understand how the business is connected to IT workloads, the more risk and exposure they have.

Often, the more complex the environment, the more the culture is risk-averse. And CIOs are responsible for the governance of the organization (i.e. keeping everyone out of trouble). Yes, there are constant threats from those trying to steal your IP, and yes, SOX (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), Basel 1 then 2, and Safe Harbor are added barriers, but you must navigate these threats and still deliver results. This is not a case of either/or.

What’s keeping CIOs up at night?

Not all CIOs are created equal, so it depends. There is always concern around how to best meet demand while providing the agility and governance that the business needs, but at the speed that the business demands. Speed to market is one of the greatest competitive differentiators, and CIOs are increasingly under pressure to deliver faster than ever before.

Progressive CIOs are worried about culture, people issues, and leadership. It’s a challenge getting people to adapt to change. In contrast, reactive CIOs fear gaps in technology and security and may blame the business for having unrealistic goals and an equally unrealistic view of IT.  

Another potential sleep buster is the big risk and challenge of replacing legacy workloads that have become composite but are still mission-critical. These workloads cannot be replaced as simply as some SaaS providers might say; they require a proper rationalization or modernization plan to help you understand, prioritize, optimize, and govern costs while ensuring that true value is delivered to the business.

Cloud is also a puzzle for many CIOs and, much like any other new solution, can lead to disillusionment if not adopted and managed wisely. Cloud doesn’t fix people problems or bad processes; in fact, some SaaS and clouds are even more customized, complex, and expensive (costing as much as 3x what CIOs may already have in place.) People matter, and processes are key.  

What tactics are most valuable to CIOs in today’s IT environments?

What we see working is a new Service Provider mindset that embraces these tactics:

  1. Meeting the business halfway and “intellectually” turning spend over to them. This requires CIOs to insert a liaison between IT and that business to establish an empathetic business dialogue.
  2. Establishing a dashboard or view of what spend looks like, and showing interest in helping create revenue, based on a peer to peer relationship.
  3. Bringing tradeoffs to speed development and implementations. This requires a deep understanding of current systems and workloads and an ability to deliver them flexibly with the business unit in mind. In order for CIOs to do this, they must know as much as they can about the physical environment and have multiple clouds options ready to go.

What are some real-life use cases where customers are realizing value from these efforts?

Some of the biggest global enterprises are inventorying workloads (core and non-core) and establishing multi-cloud options to meet cycle time needs. Some recent examples are line of business owners over-running costs and now using the BMC Remedy/Discovery/CMDB solution with Flexera and Apptio to truly manage current cloud and license costs, which gives them not only greater cost transparency and therefore control, but enables smarter funding of innovation.

According to Gartner, 62% of today’s CIO’s don’t believe there’s adequate transparency of IT costs, contribution and performance. That’s because most finance-centric tools lack IT context, and most IT-centric tools lack business context. It’s like you are always getting half the story, which forces you to make critical decisions in the dark about aligning IT cost to the business.

The dependencies and relationship between IT and business service is a prerequisite for enabling organizations to understand, prioritize, optimize and govern costs/value delivered to the business. So how do you connect IT to the business today? If you’re like most IT shops, your teams are manually collecting and sifting through volumes of duplicative/redundant discovery data that all too often is absent or totally lacking any semblance of service context. 

Why should CIOs consider partnering with BMC and Apptio?

The BMC and Apptio partnership brings together two best-of-breed solutions that, together, fuse IT and finance context to provide your teams the ability to proactively understand and manage IT spend to budget. It’s a great match for modern day CIOs.

Your readers are invited to join us at TBMC17 in Las Vegas next week to hear BMC’s presentation: Simplify, Transform, and Accelerate in a Multi-Cloud Environment. We're looking forward to  seeing many of you there and answering additional questions.

Thanks to you, Jon, and the BMC team for sharing this content with us.

To learn more about successfully navigating the hybrid IT environment, download Apptio's executive brief: Embracing a hybrid IT mindset.