Microsoft’s Jim DuBois on Thriving as a Modern CIO

Blog Post created by nlockwood Employee on Nov 5, 2015

By Kimberly Morrison


Succeeding as a modern CIO means evolving and expanding your thinking around the traditional boundaries of IT, Microsoft CIO Jim DuBois told a crowd of more than a thousand IT leaders at the TBM Conference this week.

Digitization has enabled a wave of technology consumption outside of the IT organization, requiring IT leaders to approach IT more holistically. What has typically been called ‘shadow IT,’ or information-technology systems that are purchased and/or managed outside of the IT organization, has rapidly grown to a phenomenon much larger than a shadow would suggest – and demanding a much broader culture shift within IT.

“The pace of change is faster than ever, and IT has to learn how to survive and thrive at this pace, because this is the new normal,” DuBois said, adding that the percent of enterprise technology systems that operate outside of IT is growing to somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of the total technology investment.

Seizing the Opportunity

IT organizations have largely been slow to adapt to this trend, and as a result, IT leaders are shut out of technology and business strategy decisions. But savvy IT leaders can seize the opportunity to think differently about how they want to organize, how to make investment decisions differently, and how to apply Technology Business Management to have the right conversations.

“As the spend shrinks in the formal IT organization, what are we going to do differently? How are we going to evolve? What are we going to do to survive and thrive?” DuBois said. “We can’t just think about our own organizations today. We have to think about digitization and think more broadly about everything that smells and acts like IT and play a role in all of that.”

TBM is central to this business transformation, DuBois said, because it enables transparency, which ultimately fosters better business partnerships.

“Leverage TBM,” DuBois said. “Extend the influence and the power we get from transparency to drive a bigger change to make sure our companies are investing in the right things, to help understand why shadow IT is happening and that we can leverage transparency to take out the assumptions and demystify, to have the logical, rational discussion that you can have when you have the data driving the discussion.”

Measures of Success

Thriving in this new environment also means holding IT accountable for different measures of success, like moving away from metrics that are not meaningful to those that are truly outcome-based key performance indicators, to drive the right outcomes.

“The first thing I had to do on my own team was change the metrics of success,” DuBois said. “We used to be measured by on-time and on-budget or availability of applications and infrastructure, and these metrics that have historically been a part of IT, and that’s not enough at this new pace. We have to think about the end-to-end experience as opposed to individual applications.”

That requires changing the culture of IT, which can’t be overlooked in this critical transformation.

“We can make all of these other changes, but if we don’t have a culture that supports that, it will probably fail or be much harder to drive,” DuBois said. “Some of it is about changing the metrics, some of it is about how do we think about risk differently so we can better manage it and experiment and learn and move quicker.”