NEWS FLASH: Renegade forces in the IT industry have dropped two 15,000-pound bunker-bustin', daisy-cuttin' megabombs on the Gartner Group fortress housing all of the world's remaining copies of the former best-seller, "The Low-Risk CIO's 10-Year Guide To No-Risk Career Management." And in a stunning consequence, newly liberated CIOs across the U.S. and around the world have responded by igniting giant bonfires to torch their decades-old plaques proclaiming "The CFO Is My Customer" and have seized the offices of their CEOs, demanding to be able to spend more time with customers while chanting, "Two-four-six-eight,//We'll make customers think we're great!"
At one of the bonfires, Global CIO found a copy of a document called "A New IT Manifesto" that has apparently become a rallying point for the chief information officers who are tired of being regarded as corporate scapegoats, frustrated by having to apply 20th-century tools to 21st-century challenges, and are eager to pounce on a variety of new approaches and technologies that will enhance their companies' competitiveness and engage entire organizations more intimately with customers.
While some of the pages in the copy of The New IT Manifesto document obtained by Global CIO are missing, here are some of the steps recommended for participation in the CIO Revolution:
1) How are you paid? Not how well, but how? Does your comp package map to your old job that you're at least tired of and perhaps sick of, or does it reflect the new firebrand-type CIO role you want to have with growth and customers and market-centric innovation as the key driver? If your pay is based on counting PCs and functioning in essence as the CFO's assistant, then how will you be able to focus on emerging market opportunities?
2) How does your boss measure your performance? Are you being judged by plumbing-style metrics such as uptime, line-item budget compliance, SLAs, and headcount, or is your performance calibrated on new capabilities you've given to key sales teams, process breakthroughs you've made with key customers, tech innovations you've identified by finding great but little-known and hungry IT vendors, and business-driven reports you've created to show ROI on IT investments? If you're paid to monitor servers and steer clear of customers, how are you going to ever be regarded as anything other than a tactical cost center?
3) Do you believe it is the job of the CIO to align IT with the business? If so, then you also must believe that IT is not *a part* of the business: that it's a separate, detached, and reactive support department that others believe is poorly understood but richly overfunded and grades out, in the final analysis, as a tactical cost center. Alternatively, do you believe that the job of the CIO is to align IT with customers? If so, then you can play an indispensable role in leading new processes, new metrics, and new expectations and responsibilities for a new-wave IT organization that is driven by customer value and focused on business innovation. If you can't get past this "align IT with the business" dogma, then you're relegating yourself to a permanent back-bencher role in charge of a tactical cost center that will ultimately be outsouced or gradually ground into dust..