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Giving CIOs What They Need, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I covered the way the CIO job has changed and how partners can best help CIOs succeed in delivering on business objectives rather than just on technology objectives.

Now that you know the big picture, here are some thoughts for low-hanging fruit:

  1. Avoid risky and costly large projects that take ages to fulfill. Aim for smaller projects that support your long-term roadmap (and make sure that you actually have a long-term roadmap).
  2. Create a roadmap for all applications and make realistic plans for replacing as many bespoke and customized applications as you can. Make sure that your roadmap has a timeline! Aim to replace them primarily with modern applications provided as SaaS and secondarily as modules that are part of larger systems. Consider apps built with the Power Platform (currently Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents) and integrate with Teams. Reducing the number of applications saves cost and modernizing with agile tools will increase competitiveness.
  3. Consolidate databases so that they need fewer virtual machines (VMs) and consider using SQL as a Service (or some other database as a service).
  4. Implement business intelligence and provide great dashboards to the business. It does not need to be fancy, just relevant, and with fewer systems and databases, it becomes easier to accomplish as you will not need to connect to a large number of data sources.
  5. Make a timeline for decommissioning servers on-premises and servers in external datacenters. Replace the servers with VMs and containers in Azure. Try to shrink the footprint by adopting SaaS as much as possible. You really do not want to operate physical infrastructure if you can avoid it, and Azure is a great virtual datacenter that is second to none.
  6. Reduce the number of vendors and go for "better together" rather than "best of breed." This will reduce the number of isolated systems, reduce the need for integrations and reduce the problem with vendors blaming each other. All of that translates to higher efficiency and lower cost.
  7. Make sure that you use processes and that they are documented and well-known. Update the processes as needed so they reflect reality. This will reduce dependency on certain individuals when generalists can handle tasks that were previously given to specialists.
  8. Audit your security on a regular basis and have processes in place for always updating your systems. Remember that cybercrime is a reality and it is only a matter of time before you are attacked.
  9. Test your backups on a regular basis so that you know that you are covered and can read back data within a reasonable time.
  10. Handle less yourself and rely on partners as much as possible where you pay for performance rather than hours. Aim for partners that are highly specialized and that have a proven track record of being able to work together with others. Stay away from partners that want monopoly and say that they can do everything.

Posted by Per Werngren on September 22, 2020


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