How the CIO can have the cake and eat it too

Lori MacVittie Miniatura
Lori MacVittie
Published November 30, 2015

The CIO has it pretty rough. He’s got to align with business goals that increasingly focus on growth and velocity of growth while she’s trying not to overrun her budget.

She’s got to keep operating costs under control despite needing to operationally support a growing portfolio of web, cloud, and mobile applications. Meanwhile, he’s got to figure out how to go faster. He’s one of the 9 of 10 executives facing pressure to release new apps more quickly.

I don’t envy the CIO one iota. The constant balancing act between innovation that makes money and the renovation needed to save money has got to be giving many executives a headache.

But there is a way for the CIO to have the cake and eat it too, as the idiom goes.

That way? Operationalize all the things.

Embracing a DevOps approach for new applications has been shown to improve the time to delivery as well as the frequency with which delivery occurs. Deploy frequency is a common metric upon which surveys and research on the “State of DevOps”  report. And all show pretty much the same thing. Greater adoption of DevOps practices in Dev and Ops increases the ability of organizations to deploy more frequently.

Increasing the radial domain of DevOps to include application-affine services in the network (the ones that are most impacted by changes in applications) the CIO can further improve the time to market that, in our research, is a top driver of operationalizing trends like SDN. 

Coming in second to – drum roll please – lowering operational costs. That’s the save money in a Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey, which 34% of CIOs indicate gets prioritization.

The premise here is that if you can save money by operationalizing deployments – including the network components that are most associated with and impacted by applications that you can not only speed things up with automation but also reduce the overall costs. Which means more money to shift toward IT projects that make money.  

The key is finding those vampiric apps and projects right now that are draining the IT budget with high operational costs and start operationalizing them. That saves money. And because automation is an integral component of operationalization (whether with SDN or DevOps) that means you’ve freed up people and resources that can be applied to IT projects that make money. That no doubt will speed up time to market and offer greater revenues.

Operationalizing the network with SDN along with applying DevOps to delivery and deployment can go a long way toward successful IT projects – both those that save and those that make money. Meaning the CIO can, in fact, have a cake and eat it too.