Can You Explain Your Assets and Who Uses Them to Your Next CIO?

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The average tenure of a CIO is 18 months – the highest turnover rate of C-suite executives. One of the first tasks of a new CIO is to understand the company’s IT environment, what assets they have and how it is used to support business operations. It seems like a rather simple request, but the initial “environment briefing” can be one of the most difficult and anxiety-provoking activities IT staff members are asked to perform.

There is good cause for anxiety

In modern companies, IT environments are big, they are complicated and they change quickly.  Explaining the contents of your IT environment to a new CIO is a difficult task. There is much information to consume, coming from a variety of different sources and, often, the information is contradictory, leading to confusion. Confusion is not the first impression IT staff members want to make with a new leader. Doing so could put their careers in jeopardy.

Not only are IT staff members anxious, but also the new CIO is probably a bit nervous too. They both probably have a general idea of the complexity of the environment. Company leadership has probably tasked the IT staff with some goals and directives about necessary improvements and other changes, such as reducing costs, enabling new business capabilities or supporting a digital transformation initiative. To start to understand the company’s IT environment, the CIO must know what resources are available to him/her. He/she knows the staff will try to make a good first impression and the CIO is worried gaps in information may be lightly explained and problem areas barely mentioned. A new CIO needs information (and people) he/she can trust.

5 things that should be included in the new leader briefing of your IT environment

When it is time to prepare to brief a new leader on your IT environment, it is always good to start with the core information that he/she must understand.

  1. What are the types of assets and where they are located
  2. Standardized asset classes (network devices, physical servers, cloud services, licensed software, etc.)
  3. Asset groupings to support specific business processes (sales systems, finance systems, etc.)
  4. Known problem areas that must be addressed
  5. Aging systems almost at the end of their useful life

Organizing this information so it can be easily understood without diluting its rich, technical details to the point it becomes unusable can be challenging. Successfully simplifying technical complexity and communicating it in a way the new leader can understand is essential for everyone to be successful in this situation. Long tabular reports can be highly accurate, but don’t do a very good job of highlighting what is important. Presentation slides with pie charts, graphs and summary statistics can be informative, but often aren’t very actionable. The IT staff must develop and utilize an effective, and easily-understood format to present what is needed and a considerable amount of data-rich detail.

Visualization is the key to presenting your IT data and creating insights

The human brain is able to consume, process and understand far more information in a visual format than with words and raw numbers. With data visualization capabilities like those found in Virima, IT staff is able to gather asset data from throughout your IT systems and model, both the objects and relationships, in a way that reveals the big picture of what is present and how they connect. When the underlying data is enriched to include various elements, such as lifecycle status, support organizations, locations and business processes, the new CIO is able to see clearly what is available to him/her, who is using it and where there are opportunities for improvement.

For IT staff members, briefing the new leader with a presentation that uses visualization capabilities not only demonstrates you understand the big picture of the environment and are a competent subject matter expert, but also you understand the needs of the executive by providing consumable and actionable information. CIOs may change frequently, but with a positive attitude, a solid approach and the right set of visualization tools, the new-leader briefing of your IT environment is an opportunity for the IT staff to shine. Learn how Visualization can help your organization by downloading the Discovery & Visualization whitepaper here.

Summary:

New CIO Briefing

The average tenure of a CIO is 18 months – the highest turnover rate of C-suite executives. One of the first tasks of a new CIO is to understand the company’s IT environment, what assets they have and how it is used to support business operations. It seems like a rather simple request, but the initial “environment briefing” can be one of the most difficult and anxiety-provoking activities IT staff members are asked to perform. 5 things that should be included in the new leader briefing of your IT environment. When it is time to prepare to brief a new leader on your IT environment, it is always good to start with the core information that he/she must understand. 1. What are the types of assets and where they are located 2. Standardized asset classes (network devices, physical servers, cloud services, licensed software, etc.) 3. Asset groupings to support specific business processes (sales systems, finance systems, etc.) 4. Known problem areas that must be addressed 5. Aging systems almost at the end of their useful life

Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard

Mike Bombard COO Virima Technologies - Mike joined Virima Technologies (Atlanta, GA) in 2010 and oversees Virima ITAM/ITSM SaaS product sales, marketing and field services organizations. He has been providing solutions to solve complex IT challenges in a variety of industries for over 25 years.

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