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Valery Guilleaume12.05.20173 min read

Is CIO still a Strategic Partner (PART 1/5) ?


Any Business Strategy will be impacted by Data growth and only 20% of the Businesses are actually working on getting prepared to make it a success (Gartner). 


Why is that? 

In this short mini-series of 5 posts, I want to share with you what I have learned during a very recent stay in Silicon Valley that has really helped me to craft a more strategic approach to help my customers, answer their true needs and wants and, by doing so, further develop our unique product in the right direction. 

And I want to share those very important insights with you.

I was lucky to meet very seasoned CIOs, IT Leaders and IT Start-ups Investors, and, during my many meetings, a recurring “Pattern” emerged that provided me more clarity than ever before…

To make a long story short, CIOs, IT managers, might not become the Strategic Partner in the C-Suite if they don’t change.

The Chief Data Officer (CDO), a new role to be created and at the crossroad of Data Compliance, Data Expertise and Innovation could report to the COO or CFO.


The most frequent explanation (by far) was: CIO’s have considered their job as the architect of IT Systems. Their “Assets” is the Hardware and Software providing capabilities to the company.

While this is good and critically important, today, the Data becomes an Asset too and this is new. They need a shift in mentality and a new approach that goes along with a new skillset.

To explain what Gartner found (the sentence her above), and make it simple, Companies can follow 2 different approaches:


First, 80% of the Companies play "Defense" both with their IT Systems and Data management.

They add gradually new IT systems to follow the growth of their company and they mainly focus on risk management and controlling the flow of information coming from 1 or a few trusted sources only.

This creates Data Lakes of unstructured Data.

Highly regulated industries, like healthcare, mostly operate on this mode.


One the other hand, some companies, only 20%, now play more “Offense”, once more both with IT Systems and their Data Management.

They prepare their IT strategy to cope not only with growth but also with the unpredictability and heavily focus on decreasing the complexity of their IT.

On the Data side, they know they will have to integrate disparate sources of data to provide more insights, more analysis, more modelling and they know that their revenues, their profits and the customer satisfaction will depend on that ability.

This becomes a top strategic priority.

The Retail Industry and the FMCG giants are more on this side of the fence.

Basically, any company needs to manage both the Defensive and Offensive approach.

Now becomes the more interesting part…

Any CIO or IT Manager can prepare this transition, from insufficiently prepared to well prepared and become “The” Strategic Partner in the C-suite, by focusing mainly on 4 things :

1. Transform “Data” in “Good Information”
2. Medium and Long-term predictability on IT cost (Capex & Opex)
3. Avoid technical Silos, vendor Lock-in and useless complexity when scaling up in IT infrastructure (Reducing complexity becomes a must).
4. Embrace a "No-agnostic" hybrid platforms approache.
In this mini-series of 5 posts I will explain the Why (the Situation they were in and the Problem they faced) and How (The solutions and the best practices) of the best prepared companies.

In the next post I will address the “Data” transformation into “Good Information”.

Don’t miss it, it will be very valuable !

Best regards

Valéry Guilleaume

CEO and Founder of Nodeum

Ps: For those of you who want to know more about the Defensive + Offensive approaches, there is a very informative and comprehensive article in the Harvard Business Review you might be willing to read. You can access it here :