CIO2CEO: Server Huggers

Posted: januar 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
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by John D. HughesI wish I’d coined the term but, to my severe disappointment, I didn’t. I first heard about „server huggers“ from Steve Kaplan (VP, INX) at a CIO conference last week in Seattle. Steve uses the term to describe CIOs and other IT leaders who want to hold onto their large server farms, rather than consider the breadth of virtualization technologies available.I view the term a little more broadly.

Server huggers see their large data center footprints, data storage capacity, number of applications deployed, staff count and the like as their contribution to the company. The depth and breadth of assets under management underscores their power and influence.

But this is a legacy mindset. It hurts their company, their customers and their own careers.

In more recent history, staff size and assets under control may have defined one’s power and influence, but those days have ended. Power and influence are now defined in terms of leverage – doing more with less – delivering greater shareholder and customer value with as few people and assets as possible.

And those results had better come in rapid-fire fashion, or you’ll get your clocked cleaned by an upstart competitor whose infrastructure is nowhere in particular.

This is what business leaders do – create value, not collect assets. CIOs need to become business leaders, not technology implementers and managers. We need to have the mindset that we exist to grow a business, to create greater shareholder and customer value.

With this mindset, CIOs should be leading the charge, not necessarily to get out of the IT business, but to optimize their technology infrastructure ownership. That is, determining the right mix of on-premise versus outsourced/off-loaded (e.g., SaaS) technologies and services. They should also build an off-loading roadmap and assessment strategy to ensure ongoing optimization.

The CIO your company needs today will have both the right mindset and ability to grow their power and influence with a smaller staff, smaller data center footprint and fewer technology assets under management. You’ll enable a more agile and nimble business, better prepared to meet the rapidly-changing demands of your customers.

Are you ready to make the shift from technology lover to business leader? More power to you!

Read more strategies and trends for IT leaders at www.CIOUpdate.com.

John D. Hughes is founder of GrowthWave, an Interim CIO/CEO Advisory firm in Seattle, WA, and author of the recently released book, Haunting the CEO: A tale of true leadership in an era of IT failure. John can be reached at jhughes@growthwave.com.

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