3 Common & Costly CIO Mistakes - InformationWeek

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3 Common & Costly CIO Mistakes
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jagibbons
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jagibbons,
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10/17/2014 | 12:24:18 PM
Left behind while standing still
As Ray Croc said, "When you're green your growing. When you're ripe, you rot." This speaks directly to the first point of being married to a technology for too long. Too many folks without a strong business and finance background simply don't understand the concept of sunk costs. What you've already spent is a fraction of the costs of continuing to use a tool or technology that doesn't provide value. Experiment to find better solutions. Test those solutions regularly and ask the question, "Is there something out there that will do this better?" If you stop moving forward, the rest of the world will pass you by and you'll end up behind. IT has got to learn how to become the technology leader and trusted advisor within the enterprise.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2014 | 1:37:01 PM
Re: Left behind while standing still
The only reason why everyone is blaming IT is because it is responsible for the establishment or destruction of an invested technology. Moreover IT's job is hard because they have to cope up with:

1. Market changes

2. Managing problems (IT managers are not the best managers in the world)

3. Communication problems with higher-up individuals.
SachinEE
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SachinEE,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2014 | 1:39:12 PM
A marriage that doesn't last long
With changing times it is the CIO's duty to be kept informed my marketing and technical analysts about future prospects of a particluar line of project. "Don't fix it if it ain't broke" mentality won't do good here because we've seen how that works out (cite: samsung's declining smartphone sales in the Galaxy lineup).
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
10/19/2014 | 8:39:05 PM
Re: Left behind while standing still
Those are major challenges, SachinEE. I'd agree that IT is often plagued by market changes (new technology comes and goes multiple times per day) and communication (that is a very common problem). As for managing, there are good and bad managers in IT, as well as in any other field.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
10/20/2014 | 7:52:12 AM
Re: Left behind while standing still
To the point of sunk costs and always looking for better options I think there is a bit of a balancing act required.  Yes you should always be looking for better systems than you currently have but you will run into times where what you have is the best option for right now and changing for the sake of change is just doing to be damaging.  Anyone can go in and say system Y needs to be replaced because it causes a bottleneck but often enough I see that system replaced with one that isn't any better it is just different.  Knowing the difference is where a CIO can be truly effective.  
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
10/20/2014 | 7:54:50 AM
Re: Left behind while standing still
Knowing the difference is where a CIO can be truly effective.

Agreed, SaneIT. A strong CIO can help the enterprise evaluate where it makes sense to replace a system versus keeping one in place.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
10/20/2014 | 9:10:05 AM
Re: Left behind while standing still
And then there's the people factor in such a change, SaneIT. Changing to a cloud collaboration system, for example, might mean you're asking people who ran systems hands on to now spend more time coaching end users on how to get the most out of the new capabilities. Those are different skills, and CIOs need to be transparent and realistic about how they're asking people to change. 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
10/21/2014 | 7:17:23 AM
Re: Left behind while standing still
I totally agree, it is more than just saying "this needs to change", a CIO needs to understand how that change will affect people and be able to evaluate if it is going to make things better or worse.  Sometimes the tech leaders are look to in the name of updating systems but if you update the systems and the people using them aren't up to speed you're going to cause some damage.  
BruceHarpham
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BruceHarpham,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/23/2014 | 9:42:10 AM
Benchmarking with peers
Tony, I like the concept you suggest here:

" You should even share cost benchmarks to compare your IT organization to peers."

How can one do this? For example, imagine you are the CIO of Wells Fargo. How would you obtain comparable cost benchmarks from other large financial institutions? How would this be done as a private company?
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
10/24/2014 | 3:10:51 AM
Re: Benchmarking with peers
I agree with you and I have similar kind of experience. They always try and cater the top level requirements rather than understanding the exact business need.
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