Whose Problem IS IT Anyway?



I was recently asked by a CIO what your niche was. First I thought he was referring to verticals and then about the applications. I was off the radar on both fronts. The question was more about technology such as “web development, mobile, etcetera”.  I was really stumped for an answer but nevertheless recovered quickly enough and answered a question with another question: If we provide technology solutions, shouldn’t we be all of that? In my mind, I was trying to arrange the question in another way as: IS your specialization front office, back office or Connectivity solutions?


I’ve been evangelizing for a while about organizations changing the way they work with their IT / IS Service providers. In order to get there, the organizations must get a clear view of their Front, Back and Customer Universe Office. We are referring our path to the good old days when the office meant business. It is just that businesses are transacted more virtually than physically these days. And it is about time, we started framing our technology and systems in the context of business office, isn’t it?


The expression that needs more common empathy henceforth is “Composite Applications” that encompasses all the three offices; the front, back and the customer universe. Such composite applications which will envision the seamless flow of work, data and information across these entities will be enabled by all kinds of widgets and devices that allow the convergence of computing, communications and content. In an age of “do more with less”, isn’t it time to wake up and smell the coffee? Isn’t it necessary to simply discard the labels and truly embrace agile methodologies and unified processes? In order to do this, enterprise applications must be Mobile, Social and On-Cloud at the same time incorporating Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), Real-Time Event Driven Systems across multiple Networks and Virtualization mutually inclusively.


Among the other fashionable fads currently trending the cocktail circuits that transcend technology discussions is Universal Applications. This is just not another word for Composite Applications. In fact, they are the Yin and the Yang of Applications; where Business and Technology merge to provide a seamless interface for the customers – Employees, Clients, Business Partners, Shareholders, Stakeholders, Vendors and the Societies in which the business enterprise operate to compete collaboratively and compliantly.


Let me now share with you a case study to figure out why the title of the blog is “Whose Problem is it anyway?”


A CIO I  know was recently hired at an enterprise that aims to grow its business by thirteen folds from what it had garnered over the past thirty years in the next three years. After two months of engaging with the executives of the organization, the CIO says he is mandated to focus on patching the application that was subscribed by the business in the previous year (prior to his arrival) before he can start thinking about giving shape to a new envisioned information strategy against the business mandate. To just complete the picture, the software vendor in question is new to the industry domain and application, and has expressed difficulty in satisfying the demand for integrating the application or even meeting the demands of internal customers used to home grown User Interfaces with no available hooks to either connect or modernize the back office or the customer office. Yes, the software vendor is selling a front office application without really worrying about interactivity, integration and intelligence woven into the transactional environment. The CIO’s mandate is become a smart negotiator and pay for the sins committed by someone before you can divide the ocean and lead us to the other side of nirvana .


What is your take on how this story is going to go? Please participate in writing in your feedback. Perhaps your views will help in shaping clarity for our protagonist CIO and / or his organization.  

PS: The CIO at the beginning and the end of this edition of the blog are two different people from two different industry verticals and two completely different organizations on two different coasts of North America!!

About Subbu Iyer

Subbu Iyer is an Innovation & Transformation Leader as with 28 years of serving customers globally. He is currently the Chief Designer & Transformer at Energizing Innovation, an enterprise that is being founded to facilitate continuous growth in enterprises and as a consequence create societal wealth. The Radical Shift that this enterprise intends to employ is focusing on the Potential rather than the Performance of a business. He has been a serial entrepreneur and an intrapreneur in his past life, having founded Nihilent Technologies and Nandaki Systems besides being associated in senior leadership roles with firms such as Coopers & Lybrand, Cambridge Technology Partners, Tata Consultancy Services, Wipro Technologies and Steria.
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3 Responses to Whose Problem IS IT Anyway?

  1. Pingback: The present and Future of a CIO | Chaitanya Dhareshwar's Blog | Technology for the engaging CIO

  2. My answer was too large to post here 🙂

    Simple answer: He transforms the sin into a blessing, divides the ocean and leads the flock to IT-Utopia.

    Detailed answer: http://cbd.vcio.in/2013/03/09/this-cios-future/

  3. Pingback: This CIO’s Future | Chaitanya Dhareshwar's Blog | Technology for the engaging CIO

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