The Changing Role of IT - and How APM Can Help
March 21, 2014

Paul Ellis
CA Technologies

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Survival of the fittest is a well-established notion since the dawn of time. As environments changed over time organisms that could not adapt and evolve to the new normal became extinct and disappeared. A recent study conducted by CA Technologies, Tech Insights Report: The Changing Role of IT and What to Do About It, provides both a wakeup call and some guidance for CIOs and IT leaders not wanting to follow the path of the dinosaur to extinction.

CIOs have been struggling for years to shed the image of being super technologist who advanced to the management ranks. Today’s CIO must add value by first understanding the business strategy and objectives and work in partnership with the business units to achieve those objectives. In this new normal, the CIO must be able to demonstrate IT's contribution to the business while managing business service delivery both inside and outside the walls of the datacenter.

The study found vast differences in the perception of how well IT is serving the business with the CIO having a much more favorable view than their non-CIO business partners.

Adding to this challenge for the CIO is that today’s tech-savvy Line of Business Owner (LOB) understands the value that technology can provide. These LOB managers are focused on delivering new and innovative services to attract new customers, and retain existing customers to grow the business. They are keenly aware of the importance of understanding the customer experience and the role of IT services in helping assure customer expectations are achieved or exceeded. They are also willing and able to circumvent IT if they feel their service delivery needs can’t be met internally. Successful CIOs will adopt and promote best practices to help fuel business growth.

One area where the application of best practices can help is Application Performance Management (APM). Using real-time metrics about the actual end-user experience, IT can demonstrate that they are meeting or exceeding Service Level Objectives (SLAs) negotiated with the LOB. This can help remove any doubt that IT is delivering as promised.

Additionally APM best practices help IT identify and fix problems faster, often before they even impact the customer. Rapid problem identification eliminates the all-too-familiar war room approach to problem solving. It allows the organization to focus only the necessary resources on addressing a problem. More efficient resource utilization allows organizations to shift more of the “Run” budget to the “Build” budget to focus on delivering those new and innovative capabilities demanded by the LOB and ultimately the customer.

Gaining business support for the IT organization doesn’t just happen, it must be driven by a CIO who understands the business strategy, partners with the LOB, and demonstrates the value-add provided by IT. In doing so CIOs help assure not only their own survival and growth but the overall health and growth of the business.

The good news is CIOs seem to be gaining ground. The number of CIO’s reporting directly to the CEO is up in 2013 compared to 2011.

Paul Ellis is Senior Principal Marketing Manager for CA Technologies in the Application Performance Management Customer Solutions Unit.

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