The role of the CSO and CIO has been changing dramatically as technology becomes more and more vital to business strategies. Sometimes, it can be hard to keep up.
Amol Joshi, SVP of business development at Redwood City, Calif.-based Ivalua Inc., suggests that CSOs and CIOs can pick up a few tricks from Chief Procurement Officers.
1. Create and use contract templates
Many CIOs and CSOs are faced with the responsibility of creating or reviewing contracts with outsourcers, contractors, part-time help, software vendors, data centers, cloud services providers and other vendors and suppliers.
CPOs have been doing this for a long time, and one trick that the use is create a library of clauses that they can put into a contract when needed.
These clauses have to be kept up to date, Joshi said. For example, cloud SLAs evolve all the time, as do compliance requirements.
Plus, companies are always learning from their mistakes -- and, hopefully, the mistakes of their competitors -- and amending their contracts as a result.
"CIOs and CSOs need to standardize those clauses and make them available in a central repository so anyone trying to write a contract can use that particular clause," he said.
2. Create a system for compliance monitoring
During contract negotiations, vendors are going to be on their best behavior, using the best security practices, and otherwise complying with your requirements. All their certificates and certifications will be up to date, their insurance policies are in place.
Over time, though, things can start to slip.
This is where a monitoring system is critical.
CPOs know that they need to ensure that their providers have, say, paid their bills for their liability insurance, or that any new personnel assigned to a project have the required professional licenses. Letting things slide can result in big problems down the line.
"CPOs are using technology platforms that make that information available instantly to both suppliers and to the enterprises," said Joshi.
CIOs and CTOs need something similar, he said.
3. Make more use of procurement pros
In some organizations, the procurement department handles everything except technology purchases, and IT handles its own vendor relationships and risk exposure.
But procurement departments have staffers who are experts in ensuring that vendors stay compliance on a day-to-day basis.
"CIOs and CSOs should leverage those skill sets," Joshi said.
"Having the CIOs and CSOs also use the purchasing group can make it more streamlined and formal," he added. "And lead to more effective contracts and higher savings."