The CIO’s sleepless nights

In a report released Monday outlining the top 10 challenges and opportunities in information technology, IT sourcing and growing talent rank at the top of the most pressing issues facing Canadian CIOs today, according to consulting firm Deloitte.


a strong Canadian dollar, CIOs are questioning if Canada will play as big of a role as nearshore service provider as it did when the dollar was at 60 cents, said Jean-Claude Aube, principal at Deloitte in Montreal.

“”There’s a bit of consideration around IT sourcing,”” said Aube. “”Are we going to push all the way to become CMMI (Carnegie Mellon Maturity Institute) certified with real offshorers?””

In terms of growing talent, Aube said Canadians have a good reputation for fostering talented people.

“”Canada has always been a good provider of IT professionals through our university programs,”” said Aube, adding that organizations need to think differently about their human resources skillset. “”Instead of hiring and retaining employees there should be more development and deployment of those resources.””

IT and the law, security and risk, business integration and value were identified as the most pressing issues for IT in the report titled, “”CIO 2.0: The Changing Role of the Chief Information Officer.”” The report was compiled from about 30 Deloitte offices worldwide, including Canada, that participate in its CIO Services Advisory Council by sharing their clients’ experiences.

While these terms are not particularly brand new, Aube said their applicability is more impressive in light of new governmental regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, increased global threats and a higher degree of vulnerability and risk.

“”Nobody would have envisioned anything close to Sarbanes-Oxley without the Enrons of this world,”” said Aube. “”Security now becomes the primary subject.”” Aube added that CIOs are now faced with internal business continuity planning on top of disaster recovery planning.

Increased risks have widened the scope of services for CIOs. “”They’re looking at a much broader scope of mandates,”” said Aube, adding that some CIOs now oversee physical security in addition to logical security.

Whereas value was once associated with benefits, for example, it represents a much broader spectrum of contribution, said Aube. “”Value is expressed through innovation, growth and maintenance programs where you have an obligation to protect the value,”” he said.

Similarly, in governance and funding, an IT dollar is viewed as an enterprise dollar, the report said. “”Given that corporations are faced with significant cap ex shortage, IT is not looked at differently,”” said Aube.

Terrence Verity, CIO of Seneca College said risk management is a big factor for the post-secondary institution.

“”The issue always is how much risk are you willing to take,”” said Verity. “”How much risk is your organization willing to take. You have to balance between the amount of risk that you’re willing to assume and your ability to either manage that or afford it.””

Verity also noted growing talent as a key issue for CIOs as the baby boomer generation starts to retire. “”There has to be really solid plans around succession training and making some investments in those areas to make sure we have success coming along into those leadership roles.””

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