The Mutt has been whining a lot lately. And he’s been getting philosophical — even a bit like Prince Hamlet with his posturing and pronouncing. He’s been saying things like, “Whither the CIO? There’s no room for all of us in the dog box.”
Well, like any mutt, he is a bit of a whiner at times. What’s worrying him is Peter Hind’s Forecast for Management, in which CIOs will learn that they are no longer the glamour boys (and girls) of business. Hind recalls Marie Antoinette’s sneering response to the plight of the poor: “Let them eat cake.” Actually, the Mutt rather likes the idea, but few CIOs do. So your job is getting harder and fewer of you are reporting directly to your CEOs while more of you are reporting to your CFOs. Your plight reflects, perhaps, a failure to grasp what is most important about your job — it is not about technology: it’s about business. That leaves many of you, as CIOs, stuck in a difficult situation. You have probably entered your current job via a technical route and now find yourself in need of a good understanding of the issues that drive your business peers. They won’t listen to you unless you can make yourself understood to them.
Unfortunately for you, the CFO’s attitude towards IT is likely to be one of cost containment unless you can make that person understand the business imperatives that drive your decision-making. Some of the answers are indicated in the interview in this issue starting page 54 with two US CIOs, one of whom is also in the role of CFO while the other is a former CFO. The bottom line is: “Speak our language if you want to make an impact on us.” Well, there’s some good advice for you.
Finally, a word of thanks to all of you who attended the CIO annual conference in Auckland. It was a record turnout and, judging by the feedback, highly successful. Events like this don’t happen without your participation and inspiration.
And, talking of inspiration, we are about to launch our CIO website, www.cio.co.nz. This is just the beginning of our website aspirations — expect to see us adding sections and more depth to it as we build on what we have. One of our chief aims with the website will be to build a sense of community. Your participation will be essential. In the meantime take a look at the site (hopefully it is functioning by the time you read this) and send me your comments (firstname.lastname@example.org). The site will have public and private components. CIO subscribers will be contacted over the next month as we set up our exclusive log-in and password areas.
Meanwhile, the Mutt is brushing up on his keyboard skills.
We welcome your letters. Email them to email@example.com
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.