CIOs have Evolved from Being Mere Service Providers

Kevin Lynch, CIO, Colgate University
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Kevin Lynch, CIO, Colgate University

The ongoing consumerization of technology can significantly impact liberal art schools including Colgate. The reasonable rates and increased access has made it possible for our students and faculty to access technology, in contrast with earlier days when such a facility was restricted to large-level research institutions. The available technology ranges from cloud-based high performance computing, drone technology for aerial mapping, observation to 3D printing and to maker spaces that facilitate prototyping and development. I believe that these technologies would continue to accelerate the process of knowledge creation.

Technological Advancement Comes with Challenges

Integration of cloud is what surfaces as a big challenge in terms of enterprise requirements. In view of the proliferation of hosted solutions, for virtually every aspect of the enterprise, the ability to integrate data and ensure security across these platforms is critical. Moreover, with the increased exposure to enterprise data, mobile and personal device management also  comes to the forefront as technological challenges. At present, I am in search of solutions that would tie these disparate systems into a manageable eco-system so as to enable IT systems to provide seamless and secure data across different platforms. I would also benefit from solutions that would abstract these solutions in order to present a coherent view for end users while allowing power users to leverage these best of breed solutions.

Security is the Critical Concern

Security has always been a constant concern. I relentlessly worry about possible leaks of information, either intentionally or through a system or other means. I am at a stage where trusted viewing solutions turn essential for protecting information and limiting access regardless of the source of information. The other aspects worth exploring are the hosted desktop solutions for key users so that data storage in proper locations is ascertained. Another reason behind my preference for trusted viewing solutions is the confusion regarding ease of cloud storage in terms of protection
of documents regardless of their location.

The Evolved Role of CIOs

A CIO’s responsibilities have undergone a sea of change in the recent times. For instance, my role has evolved from being a service provider to playing an integral part in the institution’s strategy and operations team. It is my responsibility to learn and understand the entire aspects in the enterprise. Also, considerable amount of my time is being spent on transforming and integrating business process, and focusing on the underlying technology infrastructure. Coming to the academics, there is strong focus on understanding the pedagogical implications of technology and assessing its impact. In short, as a CIO, my role also revolves around enhancing personal interactions and building relationships, both in classrooms and administrative sections. I suggest CIOs to gain proficiency in process analysis and redesigning. Instead of spending time in automating existing process, it would be a better option to revise and execute them in such a way that it turns out to be a value-added approach from an organizational point of view. (As told to Derek Patrick).

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