Monday, August 18, 2008

About CIOs and the tsunami

I came across a posting called Are More CIOs Getting Fired? by Abbie Lundberg, editor in chief of CIO Magazine.

She talked to Bruce Rogow, who's enjoyed a 40-year career in IT research and consulting, conducts what he calls the CIO Odyssey, traveling around the country to visit with hundreds of CIOs every year.

Since over the last five years new technologies have started to turn the world upside down (e.g. think of the IP-adresses you carry with you in your pocket) Rogow recognized for the first time that the CIOs he's been meeting with have more questions for him than answers.

Rogow likes to visit IT execs who have been in their jobs at least 5 years, but it was as if the bottom fell out on the people in his network, with some 60 percent of them suddenly no longer at their companies.

Lundberg asked Rogow if he thought CIOs were missing the boat on the rapidly changing world. But then she realized it's not so much about missing something that might leave without you; it's more like being on the shore knowing there's a tsunami coming.

According to Rogow there are three scenarios.

Some CIOs are trying to do business as usual. All these issues are coming at them, and they're swatting at them like flies. They're tweaking. They think they can tweak their way into the future, but they're wrong. These guys are vulnerable.

Others are taking a real objective look at what's coming in the next three to five years -- and they're coming back saying "holy s***." This is not "different circus, same clowns,"; it's a different circus with different clowns -- different skill sets and different user communities with radically different points of reference and expectations. This group of CIOs is working hard to figure it out.

The third scenario is reactive. New CIOs come in thinking that whatever the last person was doing wasn't right. They know they were brought in to do things differently. Some are good, but some are getting rid of the enterprise architecture group and decide that users should be able to use whatever they want without understanding cause and effect or the consequences of their decisions. This group is the one most likely to really screw things up.

Interesting posting for every CIO who doesn't like the acronym is coming to stand for "Career Is Over."

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