Software // Information Management
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12/17/2008
09:32 AM
Rajan Chandras
Rajan Chandras
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The Lighter Side of Being CIO

I recently came across an article on succession planning for CIO's... and I thought, are you kidding? The savvy CIO knows much better than to foolishly throw it all away through succession planning or any other such nonsense. Here are a few tips for the savvy CIO to stay indispensable...

I recently came across an article on succession planning for CIO's... and I thought, are you kidding? The savvy CIO knows much better than to foolishly throw it all away through succession planning or any other such nonsense. Here are a few tips for the savvy CIO to stay indispensable...

Succession Planning: First let's put this one to bed. No CIO in his right mind will want to dig his own grave by identifying and grooming a successor. But what if there's pressure from the top? No problem - the Savvy CIO has two safe options at hand to pick the "successor."

The Winning Loser: Losers make the best potential successors - nobody's going to dare elevate the fool to great heights, and the CIO remains safe. Losers come in all shades: The Faithful Follower, that stands out with his dog-like devotion and inherent lack of initiative; The Unctuous Untrustworthy, who's been hanging around for years waiting to stab you in the back (there are numerous ways to keep this hound at bay... but that's another story); and more...

A Series of Successive Successors: Nothing dissipates succession planning as effectively as a series of rapidly changing designated successors, each designed - I mean designated - to stay just long enough to kill the predecessor's chances at serious consideration, but too short to actually establish herself.

Legacy Technology Transformation: Repeat three times, "Legacy technology is my friend." If you are like the average US CIO, you're in your forties or fifties. You like to talk Web 2.0: you know, cloud computing, social computing and the like... but the fact is that these things scare you silly. What fueled you into these stratospheric heights is (what was once) your keen grasp of mainframe and client/server technologies. The longer these legacy systems stay around, the longer you stay around. Replace them all with Web 2.0 solutions and all this new-fangled "everything-as-a-service," and you'll soon be looking for "executive-resume-as-a-service."

Enterprise Software: ERP solutions have long proven their prodigious value - and their prodigious propensity to impoverish your corporate coffers by hundreds of million dollars. But whoever's heard of a CIO being let go in the middle of a large multi-year ERP implementation? (Note: better have that scapegoat ready at the end, though... large ERP installations are notorious CIO career-killers. I'd suggest using the Unctuous Untrustworthy as scapegoat.)

Data Integration Data integration (based on sound data quality) is crucial to an efficient organization. Greater the degree of data integration, greater is the potential for business process integration and business efficiency... and greater the chance for CIO disintegration. The Captain's never as superfluous as when the sailing is calm. Fortunately, this risk is easily averted: Nip that enterprisewide metadata-driven data quality and integration initiative in the bud. Or better still, smother it with excessive love: get many such disparate initiatives going, headed by gung-ho gun-slingers with nary a perspective in common.

Empowering the Business: Hear those superstar super-successful business executives howling for greater power to the business? Why, just follow that excellent advice beyond even their wildest dreams... and sit back and watch the fun as egos balloon, technology investments compete and disparate technologies, standards and chaos proliferate, clearing the way for you to indispensably lead a multi-year effort at enterprise technology standardization.

Consultant Power: When all else fails, bring in that high-falutin' consulting firm that General Manager George in Infrastructure Services always hankered for. Plus, that other high-falutin' consulting firm that always sucked up to Vice President Vanessa in Application Services. Plus that third firm that's been the cornerstone of your tottering Business Intelligence initiative. Plus that firm that messed up your ERP implementation eight years ago. Plus the firm that... but you get the point. Pop quiz: how many high-powered consulting firms does it take to mess up IT strategy? The right answer will help you retain that coveted CIO status for years more...

Whoever said CIOs don't control their own destiny?I recently came across an article on succession planning for CIO's... and I thought, are you kidding? The savvy CIO knows much better than to foolishly throw it all away through succession planning or any other such nonsense. Here are a few tips for the savvy CIO to stay indispensable...

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