Information Technology Consulting Firms and the CIO’s New Role

Chief Information Officer: It’s a title that expresses high-level management across information sources. Yet the reality is that for many CIOs, the job encompasses not just strategic management but also technological platforms, contracts, vendor relationships, and countless other minutiae of IT operations. The role of the CIO is changing rapidly – more and more, IT consultants are stepping in to provide support to these C-suite executives. Read on to discover how CIOs’ positions are shifting and how information technology consulting firms can provide support to this new “version” of CIOs. (Pun intended – CIO 2.0?)

Increased Sourcing and Governance Duties

The cloud and other technological innovations have changed the way CIOs think – at least the way those on the leading edge think. Rather than relying on in-house servers and expertise, many companies are now swapping out their legacy IT systems for off-site, outsourced data storage, SaaS (Software as a Service), and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing). Instead of researching the occasional software replacement, CIOs are now managing and sourcing new, superior technological solutions on a continual basis.

How information technology consulting firms can help: Because we work within a variety of industries, IT consultants typically command strong insight into which external IT technologies will best serve your company. Indeed, in today’s business environment, you need such an IT guru on your side.

Continuous Design is a Must

The dream of a unified, ultimate IT software/service solution for an organization is officially dead. Rather, businesses must figure out what works best for the situation at hand, in the current moment – and be ready to switch vendors, systems, or remote servers when performance lags. Therefore, CIOs must now be in continual design mode, always analyzing how well systems are working while simultaneously researching products that could perform better.

How information technology consulting firms can help: Continuous design is the sea in which IT consultants swim. We thrive in the “kaizen” continual improvement environment. In many instances, this is why information technology consulting firms are formed in the first place – because the founders loved helping other businesses thrive in the face of an ever-changing IT atmosphere.

The End of Isolation

Gone are the days when IT workers and managers secluded themselves in the most cave-like portion of the office, quietly monitoring and improving onsite hardware, software, and servers. These days, CIOs are brokers between many different interconnected systems. IT consultants, vendors, designers, users, and storage providers are all intertwined, so a successful CIO must be able to “get along well with others” – hopefully, very well with others, so her or his company can achieve the most cost-effective partnership arrangements.

How information technology consulting firms can help: From a best practices perspective, IT consultants now suggest that companies create a service catalog (listing every IT task in a company) as well as a configuration management database (listing the technology used to achieve company IT tasks). These two custom “bibles” of IT will help you and your IT consultants adjust your solutions wisely. Or, if you need a more immediate solution, IT consultants can provide on-the-spot advice regarding new IT partnerships and products.

IT consultants are flexible; they can provide case-by-case expertise (for instance, suggesting a new business disaster cloud solution) or supply ongoing, regular service management. In a world of shifting responsibilities, CIOs will benefit from turning to information technology consulting firms for reliable, competitive, expert advice.

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