A Sales Guys Perspective on the Modern IT Leader

Having spoken to and worked with dozens of IT Leaders, I’ve learned that not all IT leaders are created equal and that IT has a much bigger impact on the business than most people realize. An IT leader isn’t just a person you call when your laptop breaks, IT leaders enable the business to more efficiently hit their enterprise goals by investing in solutions and ensuring their adoption. At least, that’s what they should be doing. “Legacy” IT leaders just pick “industry standards”, go to Gartner and fear change. “Modern” IT leaders understand change is coming and choose to be earlier on the adoption curve / take more risks to help their company grow. Below are 3 observations I’ve had on IT leaders.

Move to the cloud, or move out of the way.

  • It’s mind-boggling to me that some IT leaders still invest the majority of their budget into hardware-based solutions. Not only is it expensive, you’re also consuming all of your teams time on maintaining hardware. I haven’t met a single IT person that enjoys working in the server room or upgrading a PBX, it’s also not efficient. Rather than having 90% of your time spent on installing, maintaining and upgrading hardware, move to the cloud and have your team focused on how they can better support the business’s high-level goals. From a financial, time efficiency and business efficiency perspective, it just makes sense to move to the cloud. If you choose to ignore the cloud, I guarantee you will be left behind.
  • Sidenote: If you believe the servers in your basement are more secure than Google or Amazon’s cloud, then please message me as I would love to hear your opinion. 

No one got fired for choosing IBM, no one made a name for themselves either.

  • Yes, choosing IBM, Cisco, etc is a “safe” choice, but good luck moving up or getting a CIO role if you’re the “Cisco” guy. You shouldn’t make decisions based on what the “safe” bet is, you should align your criteria to the enterprises goals and decide on what solution allows the enterprise to hit those goals in the most efficient way possible. Making “safe” decisions didn’t get your company to where it is now, and always going with the “safe choice” likely doesn’t align with the culture that your company was built on. I’m not saying go out there and invest in every startup you see, but give them a seat at the table when evaluating and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Your job is to make the business more efficient.

  • In every deal I’ve won at Dialpad, part of the reason we were chosen is because we could save the business hundreds, if not thousands, of hours previously spent on maintaining hardware, a function that adds little to no value to the enterprise goals. Eliminating these hours, in turn, enables the IT team to invest in different projects to help the business grow faster (enabling sales, support, marketing, etc). On the flip side, in every deal I’ve lost, the company went with the “safe” choice because they didn’t want to partner with a “start up”. By the way, all the “safe” choice means is that the vendor has a lot of customers, not always the best gauge of if they’re a fit for your business. In my opinion, those IT leaders are doing their business an injustice, because rather than picking a solution that will help the business accomplish their goals faster, they picked the solution that’s “safe” because (in my opinion) they’re concerned about job security.

All in all, I think this is a great time to be an IT leader. I don’t think there has ever been a time in the IT function where IT has had as big an impact on the business as they do now. I think you’ll start to see some “Modern” CIO’s take on CEO roles because of how deeply they understand how the engine of a business works. Agree with me? Disagree with me? I’d love your opinion!