CIOs Discuss 3 Post-Pandemic IT Spending Trends

Eric Tan
Eric Tan
Vice President of Business Services & IT, Coupa Software

Eric Tan oversees Coupa’s global business technology with responsibility for the internal deployment of Coupa's Business Spend Management products. Prior to Coupa, Mr. Tan served in leadership roles at PwC and EY.

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CIOs Discuss 3 Post-Pandemic IT Spending Trends

Long into the struggles of the pandemic, CIOs are focusing on critically important areas spanning shadow IT, analytics, and automation. At a recent invitation-only small group discussion, I joined a group of CIOs, including Sharon Mandell from Juniper Networks, Dave Spooner from Staples, and Eric Johnson of Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey), to explore current IT spending trends. Here are some key takeaways.

Shadow IT is frowned upon but inevitable, so embrace it so you can manage it

Shadow IT — the use of IT systems and software without explicit IT department approval — has grown exponentially in recent years with the adoption of cloud-based applications and services. Rather than fighting it, you need to manage it, if not downright embrace it, because Shadow IT is often a source of valuable innovation if you manage it right.

“The lack of visibility into tech spend is what keeps CIOs up at night. You just can't govern or control what you can't see.” — Eric Johnson, CIO, Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey)

Not having visibility into shadow IT is a serious security risk. Yet strictly banning shadow IT isn’t realistic or feasible and would stymie innovation. The answer is working across the organization and putting processes in place to allow people to tell you what they are doing, in a safe and comfortable manner. It’s about creating the right communication flows, so IT knows what is going on, and when to get involved. The bottom line is that embracing shadow IT mitigates security risks and spurs innovation.

Focus on processes before implementing automation

There’s a lot of buzz today about automation, from enterprise-spanning RPA programs to large-scale, end-to-end automation initiatives. These technologies will take some companies to the next level. Yet it’s essential to go back to basics and focus on the processes first, before focusing on the technology. There’s no benefit to automating inefficient or ineffective processes, yet many enterprises are doing just that.

“If you don’t understand the process — if you haven’t carefully mapped it out and determined whether it’s a good process — then automation alone won’t deliver the goods and meet people’s expectations.” — Sharon Mandell, CIO, Juniper Networks

Performing analytics enables you to see patterns that reveal insights into where you need to focus your automation efforts, while leveraging community intelligence is critical in determining what to prioritize, because, as we say here at Coupa, none of us is as smart as all of us.

Insight into spend can’t be siloed

Coupa’s approach is to capture spend across an entire organization, and then to utilize Coupa’s large pool of community spend data to reveal patterns, provide benchmarking, and deliver prescriptive advice. Coupa provides the visibility required to govern and control spend, along with actionable insights. These are powerful tools that IT leaders are increasingly taking advantage of.

Contact us if you’d like to participate in our next CIO group discussion.