Dispatches from The Ideosphere – Brad Englert Advisory

Dispatches from The Ideosphere

Evolving Role of the CIO Part 2
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This is the second of two dispatches about the evolving role of the CIO.

 

Changing IT Roles

With the transition to the cloud, we now need highly skilled vendor managers, contract negotiators, and service managers. We also need more specialists in data integration, security, and privacy. Data enterprise architects are necessary to successfully determine how to best take advantage of cloud services. In the future, we will need fewer systems administrators and application developers.

 

Data Analytics

This is the Holy Grail. How can we build data analytics to best support executive decision-making towards achieving institutional priorities? Since the late 1990’s we have a number of tools to make this more real. But these tools have been expensive and require costly, expert staff resources. Big data portends greater insights, yet most organizations are not yet exploiting the opportunity due to the high barriers of entry. How do we break through?

 

Relationships Really Do Matter

The primary role for all CIOs is to build strong, trusting relationships. This will never change. You must build authentic relationships with those you serve, executive leadership, your boss, your direct reports, your entire staff, peers, influencers, strategic vendors, family and yourself.

 

Best advice from a 40-year faculty veteran after becoming the CIO at UT Austin was: “Get out of the office and let them know that you give a damn!”

 

Thoughts?

Evolving Role of the CIO Part 1
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After serving for the past seven years as the Chief Information Officer at The University of Texas at Austin, I’m often asked about the evolving role of the CIO.

 

This will be the first of two dispatches because there is a lot to share.

 

Information Security Leadership

Own it, lead by example, set high IT staff expectations and accountability, and communicate to your constituents the urgent need to be continually vigilant and uncompromising. Information security threats are 24x7x365. Someone is always trying to break in. State sponsored hacking has mushroomed over the past few years, as evidenced in the probe of Russian election hacking. Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, and eastern European criminal gangs are always probing for weaknesses. Ask your Chief Information Security Officer to test your IT organization, practices, and facilities to be sure you are leading the way by example.

 

Focus on IT Workforce Hiring and Retention

In academia, we actually can commit to real work/life balance to our IT workforce. Being able to offer work/life balance is a definite competitive edge in a booming high tech city like Austin, Texas.  And serving 52,000 students and 4,000 faculty members at one of the top 25 public universities in the world is meaningful work. Add working in a fun environment with cool colleagues, training on the latest technologies, having plenty of stretch opportunities to build skills, flexible work schedules, and telecommuting is a winning proposition which speaks to all generations, especially the Millennials. The prime directive should always be: Family First!

 

Moving IT Services to the Cloud

It’s inevitable. Focus has shifted dramatically from buying and managing infrastructure and technical resources to managing vendors and the services they provide.  UT Austin has moved to a number of cloud services: UT branded Gmail for students and alumni, Canvas learning management system, Box for file sharing, Qualtrics survey tool, Office 365 for staff email. Workday HR/Payroll implementation is in flight. The most successful cloud offerings are designed for the web from the beginning. The dark side of the cloud is when companies try to move services designed for servers in your data center to the cloud. This panicked short cut to catch up by traditional product vendors simply does not work.

 

Let me know what you think. More to come!

True Confessions of a Fearless Leader
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Hello and welcome to my new blog where I will curate content on leadership development and thoughts on where information technology is heading–the good, the bad, and (of course) the ugly. Here is where you will find interesting and fun leadership lessons learned and fresh perspectives regarding the future of information technologies relevant to a diverse range of industries, organizations, and backgrounds.

My blog is designed for professionals who recognize themselves as emerging leaders, those of you who want to better understand the impacts of information technology in our world, and anyone else curious to know how to become a fearless leader. Stay tuned because my next post will introduce The Ideosphere.

Please bookmark this blog, email to a friend/colleague, add our RSS feed, and find me Facebook and Twitter. And of course, we would love getting your feedback and hear about the topics you want to see discussed.

Cheers,

Brad

Welcome to The Ideosphere!
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My hope is that this blog becomes a virtual forum where thoughts and experiences are shared and ideas will be created, discussed, and evolve. Ideosphere is kin to the “noosphere” (from the Greek nous “mind”) introduced to the world by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in 1922.

In my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to study in Oxford, England. One of my tutorials was in philosophy. My tutor introduced me to “The Phenomenon of Man,” by de Chardin who was a Jesuit priest. Published in 1955 after the death of de Chardin, his work presages the spanning of our planet in thought.

De Chardin observed how human waves expanded over the surface of the globe. From the Neolithic age onwards, these waves began to fold on themselves. The spread of humanity went from the sheer physical influence of a few miles to that of a web of communication extending to every corner of the Earth.

Underwater cables laid in the late 1800’s across the English Channel led to undersea cables across the world. Telecommunication satellites in the mid 1970’s started to further web the planet. And the advent of the Internet has unified the world’s rise of consciousness.

Teilhard used the analogy of a boiling pot with a tight lid. The finite sphere of thought on Earth will “boil” faster. His positive take was that this coalescence would create more complex states of consciousness. Unfortunately, we have seen this boiling pot of thought can work towards good and evil.