It’s not easy being a vCIO these days: Frequently a target for blame when data attacks happen, and rarely praised for keeping the business functioning, this leadership position is challenging, to put it mildly. But we see you, vCIOs and other data security leaders! We know how important you are!
That important is especially evident when the company is struggling with a large tech rollout that is changing multiple parts of the workplace…and suddenly everyone is looking at the vCIO for instruction, solutions, and generally to just make things easier. Here are a few tips on managing those tricky rollouts when everyone else is feeling discouraged.
Move Money Away From Legacy Systems and Toward Adoption
You hear a lot of talk these days about “two-speed IT” where you have legacy systems that are stuck in the past and move very slowly or not at all, and more dynamic edges of the business at marketing, sales, and service where you move much more quickly to adopt fixes and new technology. The two-speed approach was meant as a way to deal with the legacy system problem, but it’s really more of a “delay” than a deal: It keeps old systems ancient and in place while holding new services back by limiting what they can do.
Here’s a much better way to deal with legacy systems: Get rid of them via the power of the budget. Move money away from legacies and toward newer adoption, with plans to eventually phase legacy systems out complete. Then you can use two-speed in a more productive way, to identify which teams need to be extra agile and which teams can take it more slowly.
The problem with this approach is that moving money away from legacy systems is going to cause a lot of outcries initially (at least, it usually does). But you need to get people used to the idea that their old machines won’t be around for much longer, and this is a reasonable way to make your plans known.
Use Micro-Services to Attain New Agility
All right, removing legacy systems is well and good and probably a priority on a lot of lists already – but what should go in their place? Here is where a lot of information leadership gets stuck in the mud, reviewing endless options that will never quite work.
We suggest focusing more on micro-services for the individual, team-based solutions, rather than trying to adopt a company-wide approach that treats everyone the same. It’s a lot easier these days than it used to be. Vendors offer full suites of services that can be adapted as needed for individual goals. Office 365 now works with a plethora of external apps that can immediately be integrated into any Group that needs them. Basically, micro-services are a lot easier to pick up and drop as needed without making major, unpleasant changes. It’s a great new model to adopt for the right workplace.
When in Doubt, Aim for Collaboration
If you are struggling with choosing which features to include in a new system, which features to make a priority, or which features to drop as you wrangle with budgeting and deadlines, then here’s a bit of often-useful advice: Always choose the option that encourages the most collaboration. As long as data can be easily moved and shared within the company and its partners (in a safe manner, of course), then you are probably on the right track. One of the best ROI abilities of IT these days is enabling more collaboration, remote work, simultaneous project assignments, and generally making data more flexible and readily available to the right people. Don’t lose sight of that one.
Don’t Budge on Security – Provide Proofs Instead
The silver lining behind all of the latest data attacks, vulnerabilities, and related fines is that there’s now a ton of evidence on just how costly a data breach can be, and how it typically costs more than a business can afford. Use this to your advantage, and never back down from security necessities. This is one area that is not open to debate, but vCIOs and related leaders are the ones who have to understand this first – otherwise, no one will care, and the company will continue until a fateful data attack happens. Guess whose fault it will be then? So amass your proofs beforehand, and set a full security plan in motion no matter what type of rollout you are working on.