Trend: Rent a CIO for ERP Deployment or “CIO as a Service”

The idea originated from quite a few failures or ERP disasters across the world and the impact that made to the organization. ERP projects take the largest pie in the IT investments of a company and it has the power to make or break the whole growth strategy of that company. This idea turned into a new trend that is fast catching up across the world especially in growing economies like India and China. The trend that started in the United States few years ago and was keeping low and almost died down during the economic downturn, has picked up quite well in India and China. The organizations that either do not have an ERP centric IT department or have no specific skills around ERP but would not like to recruit a new CIO or an additional senior expert on ERP, got a new option these days where instead of hiring a CIO for their ambitious ERP project, they can rent a CIO on contract wherein periods vary from 6 months to 12 months. This makes sure that you are not adding a recurring cost to your balance-sheet but still getting the best talent & expertise available for this purpose.

Normally, this model works best with the milestones basis payment and not with monthly salary basis as the company which rents these high worth individuals, would like to get short term results also in addition of the long term strategic roadmap execution to justify their high payouts. On the other hand, these CIOs are an experienced lot who have managed complex ERP projects in that geographic area with similar footprint, language, industry and localizations and are well versed with not only the challenges that might come in the ERP project, they also have knowledge and expertise in leveraging prevalent best practices to make the ERP project successful. The qualities in these CIOs have to be early learning of the organization’s environment, challenges, growth vision, industry processes and they normally come up with a proposed solution which will be implemented in the organization. Ideally, the rented CIO and the organization sit together and while the organization provides the landscape, broad requirements and scope and other modalities to the individual and the CIO will understand and provides (and sells) a high level roadmap to the organization. This roadmap will obviously have the major milestones and the success criteria of the project and the contract.
The trend has certain pitfalls also like some organizations argue that what happens if the ERP project is over, CIO is gone and you started getting trouble in your system due to faulty design or wrong solution mapping? They also are concerned about the loyalty of the rented CIO towards the organization as it is known to both parties that it is a short term engagement and accountability model is yet to evolve completely. It is also countered by many companies on why they should not hire another vendor who can work from their side of the project and make sure that the internal objectives are met.

In my opinion, though this trend is a rage in some markets these days, we will still see this model tom evolve completely before it comes to the mainstream and much will depend on the success or failure stories that comes from the industry.

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