3 Strategic Imperatives for the Tenured CIO’s Survival Kit

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Becoming extinct, or even irrelevant, is a nightmare scenario for any IT leader. As Director of Product Management of Deployment Services, my job is to help IT organizations remain relevant as the importance of digital technology intensifies.

The topic of the tenured CIO becoming obsolete is a hot topic of late. A recent Forbes article grabbed my attention on the subject, authored by Steve Andriole, entitled, “How CIOs Avoid Extinction with AI, ML & New Governance for Digital Transformation.” The article provides commentary on ten predictions outlined in the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2019 Predictions, and included “a strategic context to enable CIOs to lead their organizations through a period of multiplied innovation and disruption over the next five years.”

Research we commissioned through Forrester Consulting supports several points that Andriole makes in the Forbes article and aligns with the predictions outlined in IDC’s FutureScape. Doug Schmitt also recently discussed the Forrester research results in an InFocus post, How to Free Up Your IT Talent to Drive Innovation and Transformation.

Here I’ll touch on a couple of the predictions that came up in recent video conversations with our customers, Plex Systems and Rackspace.

Digital Transformation Isn’t Optional

IDC’s fourth prediction states, “Through 2022, 75% of successful digital strategies will be built by a transformed IT organization, with modernized and rationalized infrastructure, applications, and data architectures.”

This prediction likely comes as no surprise to IT leaders who understand that for digital transformation to occur, they must first transform their IT organizations. The role of IT and IT services is changing. In the past, IT functioned primarily to enable the business to deliver its core competencies. Today, IT is viewed as a critical component for business transformation and innovation. Achieving these objectives, as well as others, like improving operations and driving competitive advantage, means that IT staff must be able to focus on game-changing, strategic projects.

The Forrester study results, summarized in a Forrester Thought Leadership Paper (TLP), published in January 2019 states that, “Digital transformation has become such a necessity that only one percent of companies say they are not currently considering transformation.”

So, the next logical question is, if organizations know they need to transform, what’s holding them back?

According to the Forrester research and the IDC predictions, IT expertise is a critical component that must be addressed. This includes expertise needed to successfully deploy and support new technologies, as well as the time and expertise needed to innovate.

The Right Expertise, at the Right Time Is Mandatory

Prediction #8: “Through 2022, the talent pool for emerging technologies will be inadequate to fill at least 30% of global demand and effective skills development and retention will become differentiating strategies.”

Andriole’s commentary builds on this: “The growing shortage of skills and competencies in the emerging technologies will reach critical proportions and will absolutely, positively impact a company’s ability to compete.”

The Forrester research confirms this finding and suggests the need to shift focus from maintenance to innovation. In fact, 44% say they lack the right IT resources internally to effectively deploy new technology and 62% lack IT skills to realize the full potential of technology purchases. The findings show that successful innovation leaders are turning to IT services offered by their technology providers to deliver the resources and expertise they need to fill these gaps.

Shifting Deployment and Support to IT Service Providers Drives Clear Benefits

When our customers engage with Dell Technologies or one of our partners for their deployment and support needs, the results are extremely favorable. For example:

  • 70% of IT decision makers using deployment services say they can deploy solutions faster.
  • 77% say support services from IT providers allow more time for innovation, and,
  • 81% agree that using support tools and technology frees up their IT staff time.

By bringing in outside IT professionals for support and deployment tasks, organizations are seeing better, faster results. They can reallocate their own teams to meet core business-driven goals while bringing in technical service experts to handle specialized or time-consuming functions that would otherwise consume all their resources.

Dell Technologies Residency Services help customers with resource challenges by providing technology experts that help get the most out of technology purchases while freeing up staff for strategic projects.

Customers Agree Residency Services Helped Them Digitally Transform

In utilizing outside services, it is important to obtain the level of expertise needed and to ensure the relationships will help your staff to be more productive while growing their expertise.

We sat down with two customers, Plex Systems and Rackspace, to discuss how Residency Services helped them in their transformation journey. I invite you to watch the 2-minute video and listen to Plex Systems’ Stu Johnson, Director of Product Marketing and Darrel Schuenemen, Manager, Cloud Operations discuss how Residency Services expanded their disaster recovery footprint and accelerated deployment of services in a matter of weeks.

Speaking about his experience with their Dell Resident, Darrel said, “They bring a level of experience to our team when we need it the most; when we’re implementing new technologies… Our residents have been advocates in making sure that our environment is set up correctly and performing properly.”

Rackspace’s Paul Croteau, Channel CTO, sums up in sixty seconds how Residency Services keeps their systems running efficiently and he appreciates having the depth of expertise needed to ensure they are taking full advantage of the technology they deploy. “Our Dell PowerMax resident provides us with an additional layer of technical expertise. When our subject matter experts need help, they go to the Dell resident.”


As transformation becomes imperative for organizations looking to survive in an increasingly competitive landscape, IT leaders must focus on building teams that are agile, skilled, and efficient. Even more importantly, they must ensure that their IT staff has the time they need to focus on driving real change. When considering the approach taken by Rackspace and Plex Systems, leveraging help from Dell Residency Services can provide the edge you need to keep your business thriving.

What are you waiting for IT leaders?

Contact your Dell Resident Expert to get started on your business’ transformation today.

About the Author: Steven Seserman

Steven is a Director of Product Management for Dell Technologies Services. He currently leads a team of professionals responsible for developing Enterprise Deployment offerings for Dell Technologies services portfolio.  Steve holds a BS and MBA as well as more than 30 years of experience in Customer Service, Support, Professional Services and Service Logistics.
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