CIOs Join Board Of IT Vendor: A Smart Move? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
11/21/2008
04:30 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
Commentary
50%
50%

CIOs Join Board Of IT Vendor: A Smart Move?

Most CIOs are generally reluctant to publicly endorse specific technology vendors, and with good reason. So it was a bit surprising this week to see the CIO of Gap Inc. and the former CIO of Yahoo not only endorse a low-profile tech vendor but also join its board of directors.

Most CIOs are generally reluctant to publicly endorse specific technology vendors, and with good reason. So it was a bit surprising this week to see the CIO of Gap Inc. and the former CIO of Yahoo not only endorse a low-profile tech vendor but also join its board of directors.Gap CIO and executive VP Michael Tasooji and myShape CIO Mercedes De Luca "have joined the board" of Inetco Systems, a maker of transaction-monitoring systems based in Vancouver, according to The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch news service. In the announcement of their appointment, the two CIOs were bubblingly enthusiastic about Inetco's technology and capabilities, and I had to wonder: is this a good thing for CIOs to be doing?

Gap's Tasooji was quoted as saying, "Today's retail business transactions, both online and in-store, involve more complex sets of transactions than ever before.... Retailers need reliable, real-time and intelligent links between data centers and customer-facing transaction technology. Inetco Insight can be the strategic technology that smartly manages transactions in a way that enhances the customer experience."

MyShape's De Luca, formerly CIO at Yahoo, was equally effusive in the MarketWatch piece: "Correlating information from these various points to isolate and remediate what the actual issue is can be tricky and extremely time-consuming for online store operations folks. Inetco Insight fixes this fragmented view by capturing the end-to-end transaction intelligence retailers need to help optimize real-time application performance, consolidate network infrastructure, and streamline processes related to troubleshooting, while minimizing the risk of service impacts on revenue, customer retention, and IT productivity." Wow -- did I miss the part about how it also cooks dinner?

Corporate board members have come under intense scrutiny in the past few years due to the twin pressures of our increasingly regulated business environment and our irresponsibly litigious society. I wonder what might happen if the CIO of some other Inetco customer has a bad experience with Inetco's products: having read about the end-to-end bliss as related by CIOs Tasooji and De Luca, might not that other CIO feel he's fully entitled to similar satisfaction? Might that other CIO wonder if excellent experiences are only guaranteed for outside Inetco board members who happen to be CIOs?

Now, I've got nothing against CIOs joining corporate boards -- it happens fairly often, and the best CIOs are no doubt making great contributions to those boards. But when it's the board of a technology vendor, outside CIOs need to be very careful in evaluating repercussions and consequences.

In this case, Inetco president and CEO Bijan Sanii says of his two new board members, "The experience and expertise of these two leaders will bring tremendous value to our team, and we see their enthusiasm about Inetco Insight as a strong endorsement that we are heading in the right direction as a company." And yes, there's no doubt it's a great coup for Inetco -- but it'll be worth watching to see if it turns out to be an equally wonderful deal for Tasooji and De Luca.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
Slideshows
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
News
Northwestern Mutual CIO: Riding Out the Pandemic
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/7/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Slideshows
Flash Poll