Strategic CIO // IT Strategy
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9/2/2014
11:06 AM
Jacob Morgan
Jacob Morgan
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Future Of Work: 5 Trends For CIOs

Social business, big data, and the Millennial workforce are just some of the trends causing disruption. Here's how CIOs can stay ahead of the curve.

Today's business landscape is different from what most organizations are used to operating in. Five trends have come together to form a perfect storm that has caused disruption across all industries.

These trends -- which include social business, big data analytics, and the millennial workforce, among others -- have forced an "adapt or disappear" scenario for CIOs. Ray Kurzweil, director of engineering at Google, says that technology has reached the second half of the chessboard -- or that the rate of change and growth is now exponential. This analogy, though, can extend beyond technology and into new business practices and ways of working.

To keep up with the changes that employees and businesses are experiencing, CIOs need to recognize five trends driving these changes, and plan accordingly to stay ahead of the curve.

1. New behaviors
Employees today are living more public lives through social networks, enterprise social networks, and corporate communities where sharing and accessing information and real-time feedback are common.

What the CIO needs to do: Make sure that the gap between employees' personal lives and their work lives starts to close. The technologies that the business uses need to emulate those that employees are used to in their personal lives.

The CIO also needs to work with lines of business to make sure that the corporate culture is in sync with the capabilities that new technologies allow. For example, there is no sense deploying a collaboration platform if employees operate in an environment with a strict hierarchy that encourages individual competition.

2. New technologies
Big data analytics, the cloud, collaboration platforms, the Internet of Things, robots, and automation are all prevalent in workplaces today.

What the CIO needs to do: The big challenges for CIOs right now are rogue software deployments, also known as shadow IT. Many take the approach of shutting down these deployments as soon as they are discovered, but this is the wrong approach.

Instead, CIOs should use shadow IT as a springboard to launch broader initiatives across the organization. Do this by leveraging employees who are deploying their own software and turning them into evangelists and champions. Find out why they are using the software, and take that feedback into consideration for a broader initiative.

CIOs are constantly encountering new technologies. The number of technologies will only increase. To make sense of it all, CIOs must act as a scientist who experiments with new technologies to test the potential impact that they have and to determine whether or not they can be rolled out broadly to the organization.

3. Growing Millennial workforce
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials are projected to make up a majority of the workforce by 2020, and 75% of the workforce by 2025.

What the CIO needs to do: The trends above are largely driven by Millennials in the workplace. CIOs need to recognize that many Millennials are digital natives who have never seen a cubicle or legacy technologies and don't know what it's like to receive 200-plus emails a day.

In order to attract and retain top talent, CIOs must focus on creating an organization where people want to work, rather than assuming that employees need to work there. CIOs must adjust the way they manage Millennials, too, such as adopting real-time feedback and flexible work environments, and being open to new ways of communication and collaboration.

4. Mobility
Workforces need to stay connected and be able to access work tools regardless of where they are located.

What the CIO needs to do: In a connected world, the CIO needs to make sure employees are able to access the information and the people they need anywhere, anytime, and on any device. The BYOD trend largely drives this necessity, which raises security and privacy issues that CIOs must address.

5. Globalization
Organizations are operating in an unsiloed world, free of boundaries of any kind.

What the CIO needs to do: The CIO must evaluate and rethink conventional business practices. Operating in a world without boundaries means CIOs have access to a global talent pool. The CIO must be privy to technologies that build and maintain effective, distributed teams around the world.

CIOs are poised for an interesting few years and probably feel more pressure now to affect change than years before. While some critics may proclaim that CIO stands for "career is over," nothing could be further from the truth.

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Jacob Morgan is the author of the newly released book, The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization. He is also the principal and co-founder of the consulting firm Chess Media Group and the FOW Community, an ... View Full Bio
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zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
9/5/2014 | 9:30:12 PM
Re: Future Of Work
I hear some of the criticisms, but there's no doubt that these five points are true in and of themselves. Maybe there's such a thing as overindulging on them - for example, there are lessons to be learned from globalization, but what they are specifically depends on your company, and it's hard to learn them without trial and error. I think, even though mobile is an oft-discussed issue, it can't be overstressed how much it changes the workplace. All the little things it enables (and all the little headaches it creates) come on top of the profound differences it causes to IT and the whole business. Our kids will wonder how we got along without it.

'New Technologies' might sound overly broad, but it's true. There's no other way to describe cloud, virtualization, etc. other than 'paradigm shifts' (a term I hate). There was no envisioning their impact before their inception, and there's nothing they don't touch.  Lorna is right to suggest that we might not be able to imagine what comes next - but we still have to try and be ready for it. We do live in a great time for IT, but it's also a little intimidating. Glad to have these kinds of resource to get me through it.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
9/4/2014 | 8:39:56 AM
Re: Base assumption
Lorna, this is such an important point -- just because the entering workforce likes to use certain tools to interact with friends doesn't mean they want to do that with their boss.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/4/2014 | 7:36:02 AM
Re: Mobility
You bring up a good point, IT should not be making a place for itself.  IT should be looking at business processes and looking for ways to improve those processes.  Most of the projects that I see fail are the ones that no one asked for but IT is pushing them because they think changes are needed.  The project doesn't address any issue and doesn't solve anything so it becomes change for the sake of change and that is rarely well accepted.  
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
9/3/2014 | 10:14:00 AM
Base assumption
All these seem to be based on two underlying assumptions. One, that employers will need to court employees and work to keep them, and Two, that Millenials will put up with having "the gap between employees' personal lives and their work lives" close. Not sure either is valid.

Automation and globilization should keep unemployment relatively high, and more people are getting four-year degrees than ever, so unemployment may even go up in that demographic. Plus, many of these young people have debt such that they're not going to be able to be overly choosy.

For those who CAN be choosy, I don't see people in their late teens and 20s having the slightest interest in working the way many of their parents do -- essentially tethered to email 24/7. They want to have gaps and boundaries. They tend to be able to compartmentalize, in my experience. Sure, they may socialize with co-workers, but they will expect employers to respect a work/life balance.

Having a CIO say, Hey! Guess what! Now you can talk to your boss at all times through this snazzy wearable" [or insert tech we don't know about yet] is going to get an eye-roll.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
9/3/2014 | 9:25:27 AM
Re: Mobility
Point 2 is vital -- how CIOs deal with new technology. Do these implementers need IT organization? Does that group know what value IT might bring? IT shouldn't create a role for itself that isn't needed, but it has to adapt both its skills and its internal marketing so it does offer something of use to those "rogue" deployments.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
9/3/2014 | 7:34:12 AM
Mobility
4. Mobility
Workforces need to stay connected and be able to access work tools regardless of where they are located.

 

I see this as an increasingly urgent issue.  Eventually we will hit the tipping point where remote workers will be as important as the LAN in your physical offices.  I say fairly often that about 30% of the jobs I see could be done from anywhere and no physical interaction with company resources is necessary.  It is rare that I have to physically touch anything but I manage the people who do so I need some office time.  I could probably spend a quarter of the time that I do in the office and still be effective but traditional work perceptions say if you're not around that you're probably not productive.  In many cases I think the opposite is true, I see a lot of sitting around waiting for something to do in many office jobs.  If they were working remotely they could work in shorter spans and get their personal tasks done in between with less sitting around.

 
InformaZen
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InformaZen,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/2/2014 | 3:37:14 PM
Information Governance Underlies Trends
You definitely identified 5 major trends organizations and certainly CIOs must deal with as they plan for the future. Underlying each of these trends that are driving "new business practices and ways of working" is the increasing need for appropriate information governance (IG) practices and education. It should also be noted that there is a cultural transformation many organizations are encountering as they pursue these new initiatives.

The (1) new behaviors driven by social media and the web increasingly demonstrates that there must be appropriate policies, rules and security governing corporate information shared or posted. Proper use of these tools for sharing information must be defined and users educated. (2) Emerging technologies and a shift to the cloud and collaboration also require robust information governance to ensure privacy/security while IG brings benefits to Big Data initiatives by ensuring data quality as well. (3) Millenials work differently and are used to sharing a lot of information without having thought a lot about how it could be used with malicious intent if it falls into the wrong hands. The information they share in their personal lives is one thing, but they will need to gain a better understanding of how corporate information is to be handled. This leads directly to (4) Mobility where IG is critical to making sure information distributed to personal devices (BYOD) includes appropriate privacy/security/retention policies. Likewise, (5) Globalization confronts the CIO with the need to be cognizant of the regulatory/legal environment and plan for how information will be managed across international borders as well as multiple jursidictions, fed/state/local.

Perhaps the importance of information governance is implied in the article, however I just wanted to make it explicit for those that are facing these demands now or in the near future. As the executive director for the Compliance, Governance & Oversight Council (CGOC), which is an IG practitioner community, I can tell you these are current challenges leaders in IT, Legal, Records and Security are all working to address.

Derek Gascon

Executive Director, Compliance, Governance & Oversight Council
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