The Observer: The Many Roles Of A CIO - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software // Enterprise Applications
Commentary
11/11/2004
12:38 PM
Lou Bertin
Lou Bertin
Commentary
50%
50%

The Observer: The Many Roles Of A CIO

Add seductress and supplicant to the business roles such as IT strategist that a CIO must take on to be successful, says Lou Bertin.

Supplicancy is, it appears, a requirement that simply won't be eradicated. Even with the spectre of Sarbanes-Oxley and the prospect of CIO standing for "CEO Incarceration Ordered," funding remains an inevitable source of friction. Yes, spending in general is up. And no, spending in general isn't nearly sufficient to achieve the goals Cash and Pearlson detail.

To be sure, the prescriptions Cash and Pearlson offer, if embraced by the uppermost levels of management, would go a long way toward alleviating the need for out-and-out begging on the part of IT organizations, but a certain amount of on-one's-knees pleading is inevitably going to come with the territory for CIOs anywhere.

One small ray of hope: a CIO's recent admission that "we're getting more of a hearing now than we did in the past. The 'Sarbox' scare stories have helped, but not as much as I'd like. The good news is that we're full partners at the table, the bad news is that it's because of fear of bad publicity, much more so than bad performance, just like Y2K."

To the last point of the CIO-As-Sychophant, we're dealing here with human nature, the very thing even Cash and Pearlson can't counter, no matter how persuasive their arguments and how impeccable their insights.

Consider the long-suffering CIO at a Southern California transportation-supplies company. After much arguing, he got his privately held employer to invest in business-intelligence tools on a pilot basis for the same reasons that any organization invests in business-intelligence--insight on internal performance and shifting customer needs, real-time income and operational snapshots, the usual litany.

I'll let him pick up the narrative. "So we get the managers together, they gave me the filters they wanted and the executives gave me what they wanted their dashboards to look like. We were set. But there was one thing I overlooked. Senior management not only wanted their dashboards to look a certain way, they wanted the dashboards to tell them certain things. Things like 'everything is going great.' That, I couldn't make happen. It was an expensive pilot and guess who got the blame."

If Cash and Pearlson have a cure for that kind of management, I've got a publisher for them.


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Lou Bertin's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Lou Bertin, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll