CIOs Uncensored: A CIO Sings 'The 12 Days Of Christmas'

It's the season for gift giving, but remember the old adage: Be careful what you wish for.

John Soat, Contributor

December 7, 2007

3 Min Read

With apologies to a classic holiday tune, here's a list of what the next 12 days or so might present (pun intended) to a typical CIO. Please consider Christmas a generic reference to all the holidays that occur around this time of year. (Hint: Don't try to sing along to these.)

On the first day of Christmas, my staffers gave to me: an Apple iPhone. Unfortunately, I had trouble connecting to the corporate network with it and as a result missed a couple of staff meetings. Staffers said: No worries, keep using it, it looks good on you.

On the second day of Christmas, my CFO gave to me: a peek at the new org chart, which has me back reporting to him. I recognized the "slash-and-burn" gleam in his eye.

On the third day of Christmas, my CEO gave to me: a plane ticket to Irkutsk, the next hot spot for IT outsourcing, at least according to InformationWeek magazine.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the lawyers gave to me: a request for copies of all e-mails related to our 2001 merger, including initial discussions dating back approximately 10 years.

On the fifth day of Christmas, a corporate user gave to me: a link to an internal blog called "This Company Sucks," which featured not only anonymous discussions of confidential marketing plans but unflattering portraits of top executives. The next day I got a call from a reporter at The Wall Street Journal.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the warehouse manager gave to me: an RFID chip, smashed to pieces.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Microsoft gave to me: a revision to my software licenses that increases my annual maintenance fee by 20%. On the other hand, I could agree to upgrade all my PCs to Vista and serve as a reference account, in which case maybe the maintenance fee doesn't need to be adjusted after all.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the FBI gave to me: a corporate laptop recovered in a raid of suspected identity thieves containing a list of birth dates and Social Security numbers for 2 million customers of our retail division. The next day I got a call from a reporter at The New York Times.

On the ninth day of Christmas, a business unit manager gave to me: a request from all employees in her unit to turn off the corporate e-mail system, because they've decided to standardize on Google mail.

On the 10th day of Christmas, the EPA gave to me: an order to reduce energy consumption in our data centers by 25% over the next 180 days, or fines will commence on day 181 and escalate daily thereafter. Copies to CFO and CEO.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my HR person gave to me: a list of IT staffers retiring, resigning, or transferring in the next six months, which was long, and a list of new applicants for IT positions, which was blank.

On the 12th day of Christmas, a hacker gave to me: an e-mail containing all the passwords used by all the system administrators across the company, along with this note: Happy Holidays!

Share your thoughts at our blog, CIOs Uncensored, or contact me directly at [email protected] or 516-562-5326.

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum.

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