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On Top of the Cloud: How CIOs Leverage New Technologies to Drive Change and Build Value Across the Enterprise



On Top of the Cloud: How CIOs Leverage New Technologies to Drive Change and Build Value Across the Enterprise

Hunter Muller

ISBN: 978-1-118-06582-2 January 2012 272 Pages



"21st-century CIOs have a dual responsibility: driving down costs and creating new business value. Managing this seeming dichotomy is the domain of top business executives everywhere, and CIOs everywhere are learning to step it up. The original research contained in Hunter's book serves as a practical road map for IT strategy in today's ultra-competitive markets."
—Randy Spratt, EVP, CIO, and CTO, McKesson Corporation

"This is a thoughtfully written book, and the timing is perfect. Hunter really understands the challenges confronting transformational CIOs in today's markets, and he captures the choices they face as they work to create value for their organizations while driving down the costs of doing business in the modern world. The wealth of information contained in this book makes it truly valuable to career IT leaders and future CIOs alike."
—Mark Polansky, Senior Client Partner and Managing Director, Information Technology Center of Expertise, Korn/Ferry International, North America

"The cloud involves more than just technology. It's really more of a new business model. Hunter grasps the central truth about cloud computing, and that's why this is a valuable book. Hunter understands the issues and conveys them in a conversational tone that is truly refreshing."
—Dave Smoley, SVP and CIO, Flextronics International

"You may think this is a book about technology; well it's not. It's a book about leadership, packed with stories about real leaders finding new customers and markets, transforming the way their organizations work, and adding value—with the next generation of technology as the enabler. The cloud holds real potential. Read this book to see how top CIOs are positioning their companies."
—Tony Leng, Managing Director, Diversified Search

"Hunter has the unique ability to distill the best thinking of world-class CIOs into something you can act on. If you are a technology executive trying to find the right balance between generating business value and managing IT costs, this is the right book for you. On Top of the Cloud will be especially useful for transformational CIOs tasked with developing their company's strategies for technology-driven business growth."
—Randy Krotowski, CIO, Global Upstream, Information Technology, Chevron Corporation

Foreword xi

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xxiii

Introduction xxv

A New Business Model xxvii

‘‘Thoughtfully Progressive’’ xxviii

Part I: Transformational Leadership 1

Chapter 1 The Rising Tide 3

The CIO as Rock Star 6

Real Stories from Real IT Leaders 7

Learning from Listening 8

More Than Technology 9

The Real Challenge Is Organizational 9

Leadership Is Essential 12

Chapter 2 IT Does Matter 17

Stay Focused on Delivering Value 20

Replacing the Perpetual Pendulum 22

Driving the Innovation Agenda 24

It’s All a Question of Perspective 28

Chapter 3 The Engine of Innovation 31

Bringing Innovation to the Surface 36

Incentivizing Innovation 39

Chapter 4 Finding the Right Balance 45

Winds of Change 49

The Third Bucket 51

The Closer 53

Outside versus Inside 55

Articulating the Value of Technology 57

Chapter 5 The Customer-Focused CIO 61

Top Line or Bottom Line? 65

Driving Business Growth 66

The Rapid Enabler 68

Own, Rent, or Both? 72

Multiple Models 75

Also Consider the User Experience 76

Chapter 6 To Cloud or Not to Cloud 79

Fail Fast, Fail Cheap 83

A Skunk Works in the Cloud 85

Weaving the Seamless Tapestry 87

Part II: Driving Change 91

Chapter 7 In Front of the Firewall 93

Avon Calling 100

When the Model Fits 103

Chapter 8 The New Speed of Change 107

Updating the Mental Model 115

Innovation under Pressure 119

The Cloud on Wheels 121

Campaigning in the Cloud 122

Part III: Building Value 127

Chapter 9 Pushing the Envelope 129

Two Sides of the Same Coin 138

A Multiplicity of Clouds 142

Turn of the Tide 146

Translating ‘‘Speeds and Feeds’’ into Cash Flow 152

Chapter 10 Entering the Cloud 155

Governance Is Fundamental to Success 161

Due Diligence 163

Taking ‘‘No’’ Off the Table 173

Afterword 179

Meet Our Sources 189

Recommended Reading 221

About the Author 225

About HMG Strategy LLC 227

Index 229

"In his book, On Top of the Cloud Muller interviewed top CIOs about the challenges and opportunities of cloud technology, and how they've learned to lead their companies into a cloud-driven future. These transformational CIOs, as Hunter refers to them, are technology leaders, not followers. They function as champions of innovation and continuous improvement, a role that often requires them to be more like a CEO than CIO." (, April 2012)