February 22, 2016 | Bob Harland | Vice President, Oracle Global Support Services

A Chief Information Officer’s job has never been more challenging. Support the business. Keep up with an ever-changing technology landscape. Ensure what you have today is interoperable with what you might have tomorrow. In-house vs. outsource. On budget and on time. Transform. The to-do list is exhaustive.

In his recent article entitled Five top priorities for CIOs in 2016, author Mark Samuels combines survey data, interviews, and analyst research to develop a top five priority list for CIOs in 2016. It might not reflect every CIO’s top priorities, but is a highly informative and thought provoking piece.

As Spinnaker Support’s Oracle Services practice leader, I charter my team to deliver third-party support, application management, and consulting services that help CIOs achieve their highest priorities. Because we now provide these services for hundreds of enterprises that run Oracle products, we understand what keeps CIOs up at night. We help them complete their to-do lists. We assume the daily stress of maintenance (and reduce its cost) so CIOs can focus energy on innovative and strategic projects that move their enterprises forward.

Mr. Samuels’ top five 2016 CIO priority list is overviewed below, then followed by commentary on how my team is helping CIO priorities become reality.

  1. Continue to drive digital transformation so CIOs can develop networks and ecosystems that unite internal leadership, customers, and external vendors. One primary financial objective is to grow digital revenues from 16% to 37% in five years. Success depends on converging cloud technology, agile development, and organizational transformation – during an environment of constant change.
  1. Using cloud platforms to stay agile with an end goal to subsequently replace some legacy and on-premise systems with cloud solutions deemed better to facilitate digital transformation. However, many CIOs are struggling to pull the “on-demand” trigger due to high costs or unclear roadmaps. A recent Barclay’s survey (referenced in Mr. Samuels’ article) found that 81% of workloads were handled on-premise in 2014. This figure is projected to decrease to 65% by 2019.
  2. Finding and managing great IT talent that does not currently reside in-house. According to Gartner, 22% of surveyed CIOs see a continuing skills gap as the key barrier to success. Attracting talent for areas like big data, analytics, and information management is expensive and highly competitive to access. Especially when desiring even a smidgeon of business acumen.
  1. Building personal, higher value skillsets to remain competitive and valuable in an ever-evolving digital age. More IT executives are expanding their value by assuming product development and operational responsibilities. Deloitte is referenced by Mr. Samuels as citing that a majority of IT leaders suffer from a personal skills gap.
  1. Find more time to spend on strategic and exciting stuff which translates to more innovation and less tactical operation. Both Deloitte and Gartner are cited and refer to analytics, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and algorithmic business as the more innovative and exciting stuff.

Commentary

It’s important for readers to know where I sit before I take a stand. I sit at Spinnaker Support, provider of third-party support, managed services, and consulting for enterprises that run Oracle and SAP applications. We provide an increasingly popular alternative replacing vendor-provided support.

My global teams deliver services for Oracle E-Business Suite, Database, and Siebel. Every team member is highly experienced, hand-picked to bring a specific blend of technical expertise and business acumen from day one of employment. Combined with an ongoing training program to keep them current, my engineers have what it takes to keep customers satisfied and retained at industry-best levels. Our customers are often pleasantly surprised at the incremental benefits they get from Spinnaker Support – much more value than just routine software support and application management.

In order for CIOs to focus more on innovation while they execute digital transformation initiatives, they increasingly seek dependable third-party resources that free up budget and time. To remove tactical items off their plate, i.e., ongoing SAP or Oracle support while assuring that systems will remain stable, interoperable, and secure. Spinnaker Support delivers a premier level of support for a fraction of what software vendors previously charged. This premier level goes beyond bug fixes and tax updates, extending to a range of technology advisement on critical topics like interoperability, virtualization, security, and cloud migration.

Cloud migration is one of the white-hot topics we discuss internally and with clients on a frequent basis. Every CIO we talk to is working their own unique cloud migration roadmap. Unfortunately, cloud’s vision in general is loosely defined and very dynamic. In the article, Mr. Samuels references a Barclay survey suggesting that 81% of workloads are performed/managed within on-premise and legacy IT systems. Even in five years from now, two-thirds of workloads will still reside in these systems and will require ongoing support. Even Oracle’s Larry Ellison predicts a “decade of co-existence” whereby cloud computing continues to work alongside conventional on-premise software systems.

The near-term demise of on-premise SAP and Oracle solutions is greatly exaggerated. Spinnaker Support customers leverage our resources while they await the maturation of cloud solutions. The murkiness of cloud, despite what big software publishers push, has surfaced as a top reason for third-party support’s adoption explosion. Until more of the uncertainty is removed, why not save the money now and negotiate like crazy when cloud is proven ready?

Attracting and retaining the right talent is always a top five CIO priority. Resources, whether internal or third-party, must be managed effectively to ensure balance. Existing systems must work now while new endeavors are investigated and implemented. Again, why spend more than is required to keep legacy systems stable and interoperable? Especially when experienced, business-savvy resources can do the job for less cost. Spinnaker Support’s world-class SAP and Oracle software engineers act as an extension of our customer’s teams. Each customer is assigned a dedicated account lead who engages the right additional expertise at the right time. Better service for less cost. Hundreds of organizations have already taken advantage of our alternative support and managed services model, diverting current employees to more innovative projects and/or using cost savings to hire new employees. Helping them attain their unique “digital age” IT and business objectives.

Conclusion

CIOs who have made the decision to switch to Spinnaker Support are addressing each referenced top 2016 priority in one positive way or another. Don’t be surprised to see our customers at the forefront of digital transformation!