Co-location featured in a number of the transformational stories presented at this title’s recent CIO Summit. Whether an international property management firm, nationwide charity or the UK arm of every teenager’s favourite fast food retailer, placing technologists at the side of those they co-operate with was delivering success – and pizzas.
Eight years ago when I joined this title alignment was considered to be the greatest challenge CIOs faced. The CIO 100 and CIO Summit prove that debate, thankfully, has been cast into history. But the issue could arise again. Business lines can and do purchase technology services themselves and as organisations look to provide new touch points to customers or use the plethora of technologies available to improve processes, the line of business technology purchasing trend will undoubtedly increase.
Co-location will become increasingly important. Whether technologist, marketer, product creator or customer support, all have the same reason for their roles – to serve the customer. One of the great problems CIOs have overcome in dispelling the alignment issue is that hackneyed old term “IT and the business”. We are all the business and we are all involved in technology at various levels in today’s economy. Therefore your technologists should be interspersed around the organisation, serving customers, sharing advice and connecting the organisation to its technology touch points. CIOs as a result will walk the floor a great deal, spending time with their direct reports in a multitude of parts of the organisation. CIO UK believes the CIO as a broker will become increasingly important. If teams can and do make technology choices, with a strong broker relationship, the CIO is free to focus on the most valuable resource available – information. Your entire team will need to become brokers too. Having the team dispersed across the organisation co-located with those who would really benefit from close, easy collaborative access to technologists will create a broker relationship. Literally side-by-side these teams will be able to develop outcomes, rather than old fashioned methods of silo operation trudging through processes of requirements, meetings, long development cycles, testing and perhaps a failure to meet requirements. Sat together the organisation can become a single location.