Splunk’s Mann: CIOs Should Consider Bold, Disruptive Investments
The most successful CIOs are those who are willing to disrupt the status quo of their IT organizations to help their businesses become more agile and remain viable in an age where startups can displace established enterprises with minimal but strategic investments in technology. While cloud-based systems and application reduce the barrier to entry for upstarts, they also open the door for all enterprises to transform their businesses.
Andi Mann, chief technology advocate at Splunk, has advised CIOs that the risk of standing still is typically greater than making bold investments that might disrupt the business in the short term. It’s a topic Mann has spoken on for some time and has documented in ‘The Innovative CIO,” a book he co-authored in 2013, which he says is still relevant today. At Channel Partners Evolution on Wednesday, Sept. 11, Mann will deliver a keynote that delves “Inside the Mind of a Transformational CIO.” In advance of his presentation, Mann talked to Channel Futures editor at large Jeffrey Schwartz.
Channel Futures: Given all the change in technology over the past seven years, how relevant is The Innovative CIO in 2019?
Andi Mann: There are a lot of innovative CIOs and transformative CIOs around. And I think that number is growing. But I still see a lot of businesses treating technology as a cost center. I wrote the book about the idea that every business is a technology business, and I think that is that is even more true now than it has ever been. And yet, I still see a lot of businesses fail to take advantage of transformative technologies to move their business forward. In terms of the technologies, they’re always changing, but they’re at some level all the same. Since I wrote the book, new things have come out. And, of course, things like containerization have really upset the way we look at technology infrastructure. But ultimately, containers are still a form of virtualization, which we’ve been dealing with for 40-50 years now. I do think that there is a lot more understanding in business of the role of technology. But I feel like there are still a lot of old-school technology leaders who are struggling to transform themselves as much as [they are] transforming the business.
|Hear from Andi Mann, Splunk’s chief technology advocate, during his keynote, “Inside the Mind of a Transformational CIO, at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 9-12, in Washington, D.C. Register now!|
CF: To that point, are IT partners enablers of that, or struggling with it?
AM: There are a bunch of partners, whether they’re VARs, systems integrators or other types of partners, who don’t necessarily help businesses innovate. They help them to work on their technology as they perceive it but they’re not driving their customers to the leading edge. They allow them to stand still, and I don’t think that’s helpful. But there are also a lot of really amazing technology partners who are driving innovation — and in significant ways. But yeah, there are a lot of channel partners who just take and fulfill orders. Order-taking is OK when you’ve got an order in a field, then you need someone to fill it. But it doesn’t move the needle on technology innovation, on driving business competitive advantage, on getting products and services to market faster or being able to try to deliver new things and managing failure and dealing with risk.
CF: How do you handle that?
AM: When I see opportunities to …