BT chief in show of support for CIOs

BT Global Services CEO Luis Alvarez claims CIOs still have a very important role to play in the BYOD and cloud era.

small blue people

CIOs should be proud of what they do, as they still have an important role to play in businesses, despite employees bringing in their own devices and bypassing IT to download apps.

That's according to Luis Alvarez, CEO of BT Global Services, who said his experience as a CIO had stood him in good stead. "As CIO, we have a privileged position, [as] we're the only people who understand our company from end-to-end. That's from customer interaction down to the way things work."

I hate to see the CIO reporting to the CFO. That's the wrong priority.

Alvarez, who was speaking at the Economist CIO Forum: The Next Five Years of Change, said there was a still a role for the CIO even in a world where employees can source IT products from elsewhere.

"Telecommunications is almost free; apps can be downloaded from apps store; you can buy a device from anywhere. Do you still need a CIO? The answer is 'yes' because they know how to make use of the technology in the best possible way," he explained.

CIOs should not be thinking about how technology can be used to keep processes running but how to transform the business. "For example, I was talking to one of our customers. They complained about the amount of paperwork. We introudced smart tablets and paper has disappeared," he said.

"Because of that, 25 percent of staff time has been freed up and the new challenge for businesses, is what should we do with that time?"

Alvarez said CIOs should be more proactive in managing that change but pointed out that some companies were not best placed to build on the CIO's knowledge. "I hate to see the CIO reporting to the CFO. That's the wrong priority," he said.

CIOs should be more concerned about business processes than the technology itself, he added. "You may get a company whose sales team wants to move to Salesforce.com. You should ask why they want to do this what business problems are they trying to solve? Or is it just a question of adopting the newest technology."

Alvarez also made a case for CIOs to be more engaged with the lower levels of the organisation. "You could talk to them and find that you have people entering data into three different systems, [which is] really inefficient. Find out what you can do to help them do their job better."

Featured Resources

How to be an MSP: Seven steps to success

Building your business from the ground up

Download now

The smart buyer’s guide to flash

Find out whether flash storage is right for your business

Download now

How MSPs build outperforming sales teams

The definitive guide to sales

Download now

The business guide to ransomware

Everything you need to know to keep your company afloat

Download now

Recommended

CDO job description: What does a CDO do?
Business strategy

CDO job description: What does a CDO do?

27 Apr 2021
What does a CISO do?
Careers & training

What does a CISO do?

2 Mar 2021
What is identity management?
identity and access management (IAM)

What is identity management?

19 Feb 2021
Building our future leaders
Business strategy

Building our future leaders

21 Jan 2021

Most Popular

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans
flexible working

KPMG offers staff 'four-day fortnight' in hybrid work plans

6 May 2021
Dell XPS 17 (2021) review: A big laptop for big jobs
Laptops

Dell XPS 17 (2021) review: A big laptop for big jobs

10 May 2021
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

29 Apr 2021