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3/14/2013
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7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated

IT leaders share their opinions on "the most overrated IT movement." Do some of these buzzwords bug you?

8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes
8 LinkedIn Etiquette Mistakes
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The beauty of any tech buzzword is that its time will pass. Remember when it was "e"-everything? Much of that nonsense fell away, leaving reasonable options such as e-commerce and e-books. Or how about "Web services?" For people now railing against how bad a name "big data" is, Web services was even worse.

The ugly side of tech buzzwords, of course, is that something new always steps up to replace them. People are getting fed up with big data and cloud computing lately -- many believe in the concept but are irked that the terms cover so much landscape that they become meaningless. Having just posted an article this week touting the importance of "digital business," I fret that "digital" might be in line as a new catch-all.

For InformationWeek's CIO Profiles series, we always ask tech leaders what they consider to be the most overrated IT movement. Their answers offer some good, quick perspective on these trends. Here are seven areas these leaders cited:

1. Cloud Computing ROI

Anthony DeCanti, UniGroup CIO: "It's not that I don't support or believe that [cloud computing is] going to happen, it's just that there are so many case studies that are simply not true. Let's face it, there is still a lot of work to be done to make it easier and more affordable."

[ Nobody's perfect. See 10 CIOs: Career Decisions I'd Do Over. ]

2. Outsourcing

Kenneth Shulman, Broadview Networks CIO: "Outsourcing is overrated, though we've leveraged it in certain areas with great success. If you read the trade press uncritically, you'd conclude that if you're not outsourcing help desk, support or development, you're missing the boat. Frankly, it has its place and offers benefits, but there are hidden costs that are often overlooked."

Zack Hicks
Zack Hicks
Group VP & CIO, North America Toyota
3. Business-Tech Misalignment

Zack Hicks, Toyota CIO: "I hate hearing complaints about not having a business strategy. Businesses do have strategies, but they don't exist in a leather-bound book. You just have to spend time with your business leaders and you'll find out their plans and needs."

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vernorson
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vernorson,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/12/2014 | 10:48:53 AM
Not so sure about outsourcing
I think that despite recent setbacks (see e.g. chart on http://www.statista.com/statistics/189788/global-outsourcing-market-size ), outsourcing is not overrated - It's just misused...
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
3/20/2013 | 9:26:29 PM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
My read is that the idea of IT becoming less relevant because of more powerful consumer tech devices is off base. Consumer IT is more powerful, and that increases the importance of IT delivering at-work IT systems that aren't hard to use and generally terrible.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
3/18/2013 | 6:58:13 PM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
Same here. Perhaps he means that it's over-hyped relative to its current impacts? If that's what he means, I can see it.

Some people trumpet BYOD and consumerization trends as the biggest thing since the microchip. Make no mistake, it's a big deal that Android, iOS and the like have encroached on the enterprise. But the fact that these devices are in the workplace isn't a revolutionary end in and of itself. The bigger story is how these devices can be harnessed to create new business processes (yes, I'm butting up against one of the other allegedly overrated trends). As far as these new processes are concerned, some areas are doing interesting things (education, health care, retail), but the progress is still fairly incipient. The hype-to-results ratio is still somewhat one-sided from this point of view, which might be what Mills was after.
- Michael Endler, IW Associate Editor
PT Lam
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PT Lam,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/18/2013 | 1:28:40 AM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
Yes, it is supposedly yesterday's challenge. But the truth is that many IT shops still fail to get it done.
PT Lam
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PT Lam,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/18/2013 | 1:25:50 AM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
Ditto. I'm confused with this quote too.
Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/16/2013 | 4:35:40 AM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
Rob,

I think it's more an idea of perception and communication of the IT division within an organization.

There needs to be a clarity of communication between IT and the rest of the business in order to make sure that the operations and tactics of the IT organization is getting the job that the rest of the business needs done. Who's responsible for that? It starts at the top - the CIO. If your CIO isn't getting the job done in working with the rest of the company and then passing that information down the line to the IT organization, that's a failure, pure and simple.

IT needs to be seen as a business partner, not as a cost-sink or simply a black hole within the organization. The primary player in setting this perception is the CIO.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
3/15/2013 | 5:48:20 PM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
Regarding business-technology "misalignment" and the Toyota CIO's comment: If you're not spending quality time with your company's business decision-makers and you still don't understand the company strategy, you're not doing your job. CIOs and IT managers must start spending more time getting to know their end customers. Internal IT-business "alignment" is yesterday's challenge.
Tony Kontzer
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Tony Kontzer,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/15/2013 | 5:03:19 PM
re: 7 Tech Trends CIOs Call Overrated
"The fact that people can now use the same tools at home and at work is a big opportunity. It's up to the IT shop to stay ahead on relevant technologies and keep updating tools and approaches to make the workplace productive and fun." I have to admit to being a little confused about Steve Mills' quote here--he's supposedly arguing that the consumerization of IT is overrated, yet his comment seems to argue for why it may, in fact, be UNDER-rated. Am I missing something?

Tony Kontzer
InformationWeek Contributor
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