Innovation In Marketplace Is Occurring At A Rapid Pace

Greg Wilson, CIO, CentiMark Corporation
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Greg Wilson, CIO, CentiMark Corporation

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs

The main challenge in technology that CIOs face today is strategic, not technical. Innovation in the marketplace is occurring at a rapid pace, and staying abreast of the changes, working within your organization to evaluate and prioritize opportunities, then determining the best approach - outsource vs. build/buy - is very time consuming. Outsourcing isn't a panacea when the solution is a core process that requires extensive integration and impacts many people.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not exist

The primary issue today is process and system integration. Integrating systems, regardless of the method, has had a tremendous positive impact on productivity and cost reduction. However, it also means that when a link in the chain breaks, most or all of the chain stops. We pour dollars and hours into proactive measures to prevent it, but there are so many lines of code throughout the stack, things occasionally break. The greater the level of integration, the greater the impact of downtime.

Technology Trends Impacting Enterprise Business Environment

Our business is very decentralized - lots of branch offices - so a great candidate for virtual desktop infrastructure, but the technology still has ways to go to seamlessly replace desktops today. I am really not interested for replacing old and known issues with new and unknown issues that consume about the same resources. Still, we are watching it closing and excited by its potential benefit.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

On a positive note, we continue to be involved in a deeper and more meaningful way into every part of the organization to participate in key business decisions. However, the demand for services and support has outpaced the growth in the budget, so not every project, even every worthwhile project, gets completed in the desired time frame. My experience is that when IT doesn't have a solution, the business unit forges its own path.

Lessons I learnt as a CIO that can help you

First, be ethical and treat your team and co-workers with dignity and respect. Second, build relationships - they can be purely professional, but you need insights and assistance to be successful, and that requires relationships. Third, focus on the business. It may sound cliche, but it often gets missed. Be focused on helping the sales or marketing function, rather than pushing CRM. Solutions looking for a problem, don't add value. Last one, have fun and enjoy the ride.

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