Trace3 IT Leadership

Insights on Innovation

Daring to Be Innovative

By Chad Cardenas, President and CIO, Trace3 Inc.

At Trace3 we believe all possibilities in business come from technology. We believe in the ascension of IT. We believe CIOs are the true business leaders of tomorrow. And no question, through our innovation strategy, we believe we can help the majority of CIOs believe that there has never been a better time to be an IT leader than right now.

We have followed the evolution of the role of IT for 14 years, and through that evolution have seen IT leaders positioned for greater relevance to their businesses. And with the increasing demands on IT leaders, they are picking teams of business partners who can do more for them than just provide technology products or services. They need a different set of tools and methodologies to help them become successful leading their entire business, not just running a world-class data center. So we created an Innovation strategy to make sure we provided so much value to our clients that we would be a necessary part of their partner teams going forward.

We built a research team who’s only charter was to aggregate the most common technical challenges of our clients, then research the industry to find, test, and integrate the best solutions to those problems. We established relationships with the premier venture capital firms in Silicon Valley to provide customized briefing days where our CIO clients can see the future of technology. We created an organizational health offering to give client executive teams an opportunity to become better aligned and positioned for change. We developed press and PR offerings for clients whose voices needed to be heard in order to further their brand and establish greater influence.

We also invested heavily in the creation of dedicated cloud and big data Intelligence teams to customize an innovative approach to helping businesses navigate through those internal projects. And we did all of this while continuing to consistently deliver excellence in the data center with infrastructure product resale and consulting services.

IT Ascension and Transformation
It’s great to have a portfolio of offerings that can provide individual one-off points of value for a client, but through our innovation practice we began to question how much more impact we could have if everything we did was more intentional and executed in the context of serving a customer’s needs on several levels.

What if we’re working with a CIO or an IT organization that is still relegated to technical functions, running a data center and simply keeping the lights on? Those may be mission-critical responsibilities to the business, but are they market differentiating? Which then begs the question, how can we elevate that individual or that IT group to a position in the business where they can actually transform and lead the company, not just IT?

What if we’re working with a CIO who has a legitimate seat at the executive table, and a real opportunity to lead, but now needs the right tools, methodologies, and business mindset to be successful in that role? This is how we came up with the idea of IT ascension and transformation.

Instead of trying to convince a CIO that we are capable of transforming their business, we’d rather spend the time helping them transform themselves and their teams so they can be in a stronger position to perform that transformation themselves. And if they’re already in that position, we can provide them with the tools necessary to do so.

We take our clients through an engagement model that includes Discovery (understanding what is important to them and the businesses they lead), Executive Services (alignment with organizational health, awareness, and future vision via our VC Briefings; and brand development with press and marketing as a service), Envisioning (identifying and defining initiatives and projects where we can be of greatest value), and Execution (delivering flawless quality of service around product implementation and consulting).

Today, the vast majority of the work we do in our Discovery and Executive Services engagements does not produce much or any revenue or profit for Trace3. But we are willing to take the first few steps toward creating a long-term relationship built on mutual value, because we’re confident what we’re doing is unique, and there is tremendous demand to position the IT leaders of tomorrow.

This article appeared in Channel Pro Network Magazine, August 2015

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