CIO’s Role Evolution

Ekaterina Mizrobova

In the previous post we described how SaaS proliferation has influenced Software Asset Management (SAM), in this post we’ll talk about how SaaS apps explosion is impacting the role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO).

The CIO used to be responsible for software procurement planning and cost optimization. The IT department worked in close tandem with business units helping them manage projects by finding the right software. Each time a business unit needed some new technology, it turned to the IT department for approvement and advice.

However, today, in the age of the cloud, the situation changes and the CIO loses influence on software spending. Agile business models assume self-dependence of business units in meeting their software needs. Quick SaaS apps spread only accelerates the shift. The ease and relative cheapness of subscription to SaaS applications allows almost each employee to subscribe and use any required Saas app. Thus, the IT and the CIO are in the dark as to what software and SaaS apps are used across the company.

The challenge here is that the more employees in the company are empowered to make software purchases without informing the CIO, the more uncontrolled and, thus, higher, software expenditures are. We already wrote about SaaS spending challenges. Subscribed SaaS apps can turn out to be redundant or employees can overlook Terms of Service (ToS) conditions and real costs will skyrocket. Besides, if the SaaS app purchased without notifying the IT department becomes critical for the business and its vendor gets to know about it, the company will never manage to get a discount for a volume subscription.

To keep their positions, the CIO needs to think about the future and work out a new approach. Sure, you know the phrase “information is power” – and power is influence. Thus, to restore their influence, the CIO should have comprehensive information on what software is used across the company.

This objective can be achieved with the help of Software Asset Management tools. SAM tools will ensure complete visibility of software assets across the company and provide the CIO with the information required to make reasonable decisions and restore their authority, as the CIO will be the only person with the complete picture to make reasonable investments and optimize software costs. As the trend of moving into the cloud will not change, at least in the near future, the CIO has no choice but to prepare. Besides, without complete visibility the CIO cannot adequately fulfill their other functions, such as ensuring security and providing support.

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