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Go Your Own Way

Go Your Own Way

There is a polarization among Australia's CIOs between the wills and the will nots when it comes to accepting or seeking vendor hospitality. They are happy to press the flesh at the opera or in a box at the Bledisloe, and while they understand there is no such thing as a free lunch, they feel that their principles are not being compromised

SIDEBAR:Soccer It to Him

Seien Sie bitte mein Gast. Nein, danke! by LInda Kennedy

Back in July Will Weider, the CIO of Wisconsin-based health-care system Affinity Health, could have been cheering on the US soccer team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. While the US team ran out of luck fast (the team exited in the first round), Weider at least wouldn't have been out of pocket. If he had gone. A year earlier, Weider, who writes a blog dubbed "The Candid CIO", received an invitation from Avaya to be the comms provider's guest at the World Cup.

In his blog Weider admits to enjoying "the perks of being a CIO", which for him consists largely of the odd meal or two where he doesn't have to reach for his Amex. "Ethically I don't have a problem with this, if it isn't abused," he writes in his blog entry. "I am probably treated to 10 or so vendor dinners a year. Sometimes it is a burger at the pub, but often it is a steak at Lombardi's."

But back in 2005 Avaya upped the ante - big time

"Recently, I received an invitation that tops them all," Weider writes. "Avaya (the telephony vendor) sent me a letter from the Chairman and CEO offering to fly me and a guest to Germany to watch the World Cup. This was the real deal. As the letter states (see attached) this is going to be a first-class junket. Just, not for me.

The invitation, which he has scanned and posted on his blog, "was the best paper I have ever seen" and was signed by Avaya Chairman and CEO Donald Peterson.

"Please join me for an opportunity to witness history!" the letter starts.

"On July 9, 2006, I will be hosting a select group of executives at the FIFA World Cup in Germany. On behalf of Avaya, I am delighted to invite you and a guest to a memorable experience of world-class football. You will travel to Germany to see two of the world's best football teams go head to head in a Semi-Final Match on either July 4 or 5, 2006.

"As an official partner of the FIFA and the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Avaya is proud to provide voice and data communications solutions and services to the world's largest sporting event. It will be a once in a lifetime experience with face-to-face players meetings and many other surprises. I hope you will be able to join us."

Weider didn't.

"Some of the offers I receive are unbelievable. I don't understand how any CIO can ethically accept some of the junkets that we are offered," he writes in his blog.

Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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