Repost 2012: Consumer tech and why it matters to CIO’s

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The rapidly accelerating rates of consumer technology adoption and use of popular online “cloud” services globally is rapidly creating the new benchmark that CXO’s , company boards and staff are using to judge the performance of their CIO and their Technology functions. While many of the technology’s are architecturally insignificant (its just another client on the network) , CIO’s who ignore these trends, do so at their peril.

In highly regulated and tech heavy industries like Banking and Finance, the challenge is even more significant. With cost pressures and the need to maintain margins, Technology spend has been historically focused on modernising core banking, payment systems , streamlining channels and automating workflow to drive down cost to serve. This focus has often meant that the “end user” experience within large financial institutions has not been significantly invested in for an extended period – it has been considered a “none core” spend.

That approach needs to change – in many organisations faced , as the gap widens between the technology capabilities they utilise everyday in their personal “digital lives” and the tools they are presented with in the work place ; their opinions form about the state of their technology function. Descriptions like “outdated” , “old” , “behind” and “competitive disadvantage” are currently being used because of that widening gap. Thats not just at the grass roots level either – its increasingly in the “C” suite and within company boards.

What’s the answer? A few simple approaches can help shift that perception:

1)Adapt to the Mobile First Generation: Ensure that “next gen” client interface and mobile is part of your strategy and factored into your architectural decisions. It maybe “just another client on the network” but the ability to adopt new UI forms into our architecture is important.

2)PILOT! – While wide spread adoption is often a cost prohibitive, however, a well publicised pilot that shows the ability of your technology function to rapidly understand new technology and integrate it in an meaningful way. It also lets you explore both the costs, benefits and risks of scaling the adoption across the organisation.

3)You will need to figure out BYOD – “Bring your own device” (BYOD)The amount of disposable income that professional households are willing to spend to have the latest technology continues to grow rapidly. Many professionals consider these tools of trade that they are willing to invest in for themselves. As part of your pilot process – use that trend to your advantage – make BYOD part of your strategy. While the Information Security challenges loom large on this front and have to be managed carefully; its not a “bridge too far” .

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