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CIO Census 2014: How Canadian IT leadership is changing

Shane Schick Shane Schick Published: 06/17/2014
CIO survey 2014 Canada

There are lots of interesting statistics in CIO Census 2014, but one of the most important ones wasn’t even captured by our primary research.

When we developed the questionnaire for our second-annual study of senior IT executives across Canada, it seemed like a good opportunity to do a reality check around one of the most talked-out predictions from a major industry analyst firm. This was the statement from a Gartner Inc. study which said that within just three years, 40 percent of IT budgets will be controlled by the line of business (LOB). CIOs in our survey were asked whether they agreed, disagreed or just weren’t sure. Their reaction helps explain a lot of the other data we uncovered.

A majority of 60 percent said they agreed with Gartner, followed by less than a quarter who didn’t and an even smaller portion who aren’t sure. This is a hugely important number. It suggests that, after years of being told to work more closely with the business, CIOs are recognizing that full ownership of what gets spent is no longer in their sole purview. It acknowledges, perhaps reluctantly in some cases, that certain IT decisions need financial sign-off from the group that will experience the greatest impact around those investments. Whether they like what’s happening or not, CIOs are facing challenges to their future head-on, preparing themselves for a potentially more complex approach to spending on technology.

That 60 percent probably accounts for the biggest Canadian CIO priorities, too. Naturally security, risk and compliance was No. 1, but organizational design wouldn’t be No. 2 if they didn’t sense a sea change of some kind is happening. Organizational design can include many things, but I suspect that in many cases it shows the growth of a “digital enterprise” strategy within many firms.

While “digital” technologies have been around for some time, the term digital enterprise has been used more recently to describe the emphasis of Web sites, mobile apps and other virtual experiences as an increasingly vital way for organizations to connect and interact with key stakeholders. This could be partners and suppliers as part of an advanced supply chain, but more often it tends to be customers who want to access information or buy things via a smartphone or portal. The work to create a great digital experience is already a key driver in many sectors today, including retail and financial services. It will also become an area of substantial investment by Canada’s biggest IT spender, the public sector, where cost-effective and more value forms of service delivery to citizens will become paramount.

A true digital enterprise requires a good team and solid leadership, but it may also require a framework for evaluating and deploying technology that isn’t common in many firms today. How CIOs will emerge from these organizational design exercises is uncertain, and may be worth studying in next year’s CIO Census. I’ve certainly seen a gamut of opinions on this. Some think CIOs will become a sort of internal consultant, but I think that’s too limiting. Some may become chief digital officers or report directly into marketing, but not if the organization performs the kind of functions (as many do) that have nothing to do with brand awareness or demand generation.

In an ideal world, it would be great to see more CIOs rising up to become true peers of CMOs and even CFOs, to whom may have reported in the past. Anecdotally I have heard from many IT leaders and experts that CIOs had been “punished” for technology project failures by no longer reporting into CEOs directly. That thinking seems antiquated now. With more vendors and analysts calling on CEOs to take more of an active role in defining the advantages they can gain from strategic use of IT, it seems inappropriate for CIOs to be one step removed from them.

If they have less budgetary power, what do CIOs have left? As always, it’s knowledge. Knowledge of how technology works and how it can help achieve business objectives. Knowledge of the vendors who supply the products and services, and how to manage them for optimal results. Knowledge of how best to use the data that companies collect, store and manage — there is a reason why analytics is also becoming one of the key places where CIOs are spending more of their time. Most importantly, they should have intimate knowledge of their organization: the cultural DNA that determines the risk factors as well as the strengths that can help make the inevitable transitions triggered by disruptive technologies more seamless.

Sometimes, when I host roundtable discussions or interview CIOs about their big focus areas, I wonder if they’re talking so much about innovation because they want what they’re doing to be perceived as more valuable. In fact, a great CIO is invaluable, and if nothing else, the data represented by CIO Census 2014 shows that more CIOs are striving for greatness than ever before. This started to happen after waves of outsourcing and cloud computing saw many of them reduce the size of their staff. Now, if their budgets are being spread out, that sense of existential crisis could be exacerbated, but not if they try to help lead the process rather than get dragged into it kicking and screaming. That 60 percent of those recognizing the role of the LOB suggests they have the right attitude.

We’re presenting a snapshot of key data points in CIO Census 2014, but for a much more granular look at CIO Census 2014, visit the microsite we’ve created and download the full report. Then reach out to me via to let me know how well the portrait this study is painting resembles you and the world you live in. Thanks to  Rogers Business Solutions for sponsoring this project, and thanks to everyone in our audience who took part in the research this year.


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Apple, IBM partner in hopes of making mobile enterprise powerhouse

Howard Solomon Howard Solomon Published: 07/15/2014

Two of IT’s biggest companies had a problem: Apple wanted to get deeper into the enterprise, where iPhones have been elbowing BlackBerry’s out of the way since they hit the market. Meanwhile IBM needed a better mobile play than device management.

The solution is a marriage of sorts, which was announced Tuesday, which will give CIOs and CSOs more of a reason to put iOS devices on the corporate approved list.

The exclusive partnership promises to create

  • more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad;
  • IBM cloud services optimized for iOS, including device management, security, analytics and mobile integration;
  • new AppleCare service and support offering tailored to the needs of the enterprise;  and
  • new packaged offerings from IBM for device activation, supply and management.

As part of the deal IBM and its partners will also sell iPhones and iPads with the industry-specific solutions to business clients worldwide.

A number of industry analysts believe this could hurt BlackBerry, which is struggling to keep enterprise customers in an era when staff are allowed to bring their own devices.

“BlackBerry used to say that Apple’s not really an enterprise player,” Carl Howe of the Yankee Group said in an interview. “You can’t say that about IBM.”

To even the playing field Howe thinks BlackBerry should consider a partnership with a services company like Accenture, or even SAP.

Usually enterprises have had to cobble together mobile device management, application management and security solutions from several suppliers, he added. The Apple-IBM partnership means organizations will have one place to find a “soup to nuts” solution — applications, management and device leasing.

In many ways it will give CIOs or enterprise telecom buyers “a much warmer feeling about dealing with an Apple solution,” said analyst Rob Enderle. “You trust IBM to do the back end and assure the security of the product and that it meets IT’s requirements.” Many organizations were driven against their wishes to include Apple devices in their mobile strategies by employees, he said. “IBM potentially makes a solution paletable.”

The partnership “makes both companies stronger in the enterprise,” he added, giving IBM a client device it lost after selling its PC division to Lenovo, and gives Apple an “approved path” into organizations and a lever against policies forbidding iOS devices.

As for BlackBerry, “it’s not really great news,” Enderle said — except that it re-affirms that a mobile vendor has to have an enterprise focus to be successful, and the Canadian company has that.

Apple has resisted servicing enterprises for fear of losing its focus on top quality user experience, said Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillet. “But rise of the mobile mind shift, the expectation of solving problems on the go from a mobile device, has compelled Apple to partner with IBM to address enterprise needs fully.

“The Apple IBM partnership is a landmark agreement. Given IBM’s market strength and coverage, this partnership gives Apple enterprise capabilities and credibility at one stroke — and gives IBM a premium advantage in the race for mobile enterprise leadership. Look for Google and leading enterprise suppliers to seek partnerships that offer a credible alternative.”

Both companies will benefit,  said Ezra Gottheil, a principal analyst at Technology Business Research. “Apple increases its business presence, at the expense of Android, Windows, and Blackberry. IBM extends the utility of its analytics solutions, and gains from sales of management and security solutions for the iPhones and iPads. Neither company gives up anything. IBM may make similar partnerships with Android device vendors, but Apple’s strong presence, and the uniting of both software and hardware in one vendor that can deliver superior service, make it the easiest platform to begin with.”

The companies will collaborate to build what IBM will call MobileFirst for iOS Solutions— business applications targeting specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others. They will become available starting this fall.

Among the first will be MobileFirst Supply and Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad.

The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on IBM’s Bluemix cloud development platform.

From Apple (Nasdaq: APPL), AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM (NYSE: IBM).

Mistakes made when choosing MDM solutions


Mobile moves from hype to reality


  • Mobile Device Management was top-ranked when CIOs were asked about their top 3 funding priorities

  • Only 26% of organizations have a formal BYOD policy; 33% were developing one


  • Now only 33% of CIOs consider MDM a top-tier priority

  • Now 26% of organizations consider BYOD a top priority

More than 140 respondents surveyed.

Exit interview: Ontario privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian

Brian Jackson Brian Jackson Published: 06/26/2014
Red Privacy Button Keyboard

In the 15 years that Ann Cavoukian has been the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, the very definition of privacy itself has evolved with the digital age.

Cavoukian is the first commissioner to hold her position for three terms and during that time, the digital era has disrupted notions of privacy in ways that few could anticipate. Trends such as the rise of social networking, the need for government to protect digital personal information of citizens, and aggressive digital marketing practices were unheard of in the ’90s. In her role, Cavoukian has had to fight to protect the privacy of Ontarians even as they flock to share their personal information in more open ways than ever before.

As a result her time as the province’s privacy watch dog has been spent guarding the gates of technology. She’s worked with social networks, technology vendors, and tech startups to build privacy into their products from the beginning, designed on her “Privacy by Design” framework that she says is a positive-sum model – meaning that it’s possible to have both security and privacy for the individual and no need to trade one for the other.

We spoke with the commissioner, reflecting on the past 15 years and looking forward to her new role at Ryerson University at the helm of the new Institute for Privacy and Big Data:

Brian Jackson: You’ve been the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario since 1997. Has the privacy of Ontarians improved since then or gotten worse?

Ann Cavoukian: I think in Ontario it has improved. It seems that people in government are scared of me, that’s what I hear all the time. I think what they mean is that on privacy we don’t cave, we don’t back down, we stand firm. The government has started adopting my Privacy by Design principle and has opened a a centre of excellence for it, so they take it very seriously and I’m proud of that.

If you’re hearing a reticence, it’s about access more so than about privacy, which is a different story. Because of the record deletion last year [at the Premier’s office and Minister of Energy]. I’m not surprised the government want to withhold information that might cause them embarrassment. But provincially, we excel at meeting freedom of information requests compared to federally, there’s no question.

Mobile Device Management is one of the ways we can address costly data leaks. “It’s important to try and prevent them in the first place, almost like a medical approach. We want to minimize the risk and eliminate harm right from the outset.”

BJ: What do you think was your biggest accomplishment?

AC: It has to be Privacy by Design. It has been unanimously voted in as an international standard in 2010. We simply no longer have the capacity as regulators to protect prviacy after the fact. You can’t rely exclusively on regulatory compliance, it’s like an iceberg where most of the harm done is below the waterline. With online activity and massive data sharing, it’s impossible to contain all the privacy breaches happening and most of them go unknown and unreported.

So it’s important to try and prevent them from happening in the first place, almost like a medical approach. We want to minimize the risk and eliminate the harm right form the outset. The cost is staggering, not only in terms of class action lawsuits but the damage to your brand. Think of Target – the president of Target in the U.S. resigned, the Target CEO in Canada was fired and their sales are down 50 per cent.

Privacy by Design has been translated into 37 languages around the world. Recently Barcelona contacted me and said they’d translated it into Catalan, and Japan let us know that it now insists on private sector companies delivering a positive sum privacy model. It’s truly a global phenomenon that beneifts Ontario because people associate it with us.

BJ: You’re moving on to a new role with Ryerson University as the executive director of the Institute for Privacy and Big Data. What do you hope to achieve in your new position?

AC: Once I gave word I wanted to depart my post, Ryerson University called with a good offer and asked me to head up the Big Data Institution. I wanted to put the privacy is the title. Everything we do will emanate with privacy and big data analytics. It will be all about the Privacy by Design model. Big data sets will be huge and valuable, but must be used in a way that doesn’t infringe on privacy.

The branding of the institute was done intentionally to show that privacy doesn’t stifle big data. First comes the honeymoon where everyone is enamoured with big data and there’s no room for privacy. Then comes the reality phase and that’s what we’re seeing right now. Everyone is questioning the expectations around big data. The ask was too much without giving thought to the privacy implications. We are going to survey all the existing protections that we can do right now. We’re also going to develop new technologies that will give you better assurance and better quality of your data. I think you’re going to see great results.

Thank you for reading.

Fawn Annan

Fawn Annan

Fawn Annan is the President and Group Publisher of IT World Canada/IDG Canada, the largest global IT media company located in 87 countries. Its global brands such as CanadianCIO and Computing Canada are written with local views for global IT issues.



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