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The Mutt is a genius at CRM. Whenever I take him into the IDG offices to see CIO’s head layout person, he trots up to her desk with all the meekness of a lamb and blinks his eyes at her. She, of course, is unable to resist his subtle exercise of droit de seigneur and goes straight to her biscuit box to keep him happy with a continuous supply of crackers. No wonder he is getting fat.You’ll find this issue of CIO focused, as always, on how to progress through the minefields of management, with a special focus on CRM. As our cover says, “It’s the customer, stupid!” We should know the message but it never hurts to recount the real-life experiences of fellow CIOs: business is about people. If you manage people successfully, the rewards will come your way. Your software and various tools can’t solve people problems. People solve people problems. Managers of security systems should have learned by now that people policies are the key to implementing safety procedures. The same applies to CRM and any other area of business. The software tools are simply that – tools to help you do the job. Loyalty New Zealand’s Alistair Hutchens is under no illusion, as our cover story says – it’s a folly to place too much trust in technology without first having the right business processes in place. It’s about people management, stupid! And take note of Andrew Segar’s 12 Truths of CRM, as outlined on page 44. Point no 1: “You can’t manage customers. Customers manage you – just make it easy for them to do so.”All of which brings me to another truth, as explained in the article about Garth Biggs and his views on making it from CIO to CEO: Any CIO wanting to advance his career must be able to influence his most senior customers – his fellow managers. Above all, you must remain open to experience. After you have established your authority as CIO you must be prepared to put up your hand and volunteer for roles that will expand your knowledge and demonstrate your abilities. In Biggs’ case there has always been a plan. You need to look objectively at yourself and assess your strengths and weaknesses. Then, if you want to advance, you’ve got to overcome those weaknesses – if necessary, through education and learning on the job. Finally, you’ve got to be prepared to face prejudice. Biggs now asks whether he would be acceptable as a CEO outside the realm of IT. It might not be an easy step but it can be done, as evidenced by a few other CEOs in business in New Zealand. CIOs have a unique view of the business world – they have great understanding of business processes in their organisations and need to be good at dealing with people. Perhaps what you should do is develop a sort of Balanced Scorecard for your own career development. This month we are pleased to introduce the second of an ongoing series by David Linstrom, head of Practical Strategy. The latest article is largely concerned with the application of his approach to business management. Future articles will concentrate more on practical application and real-life examples. When you consider that between 60% and 90% of all formulated strategies fail, most of us have a lot to learn.I have tried to apply the Mutt’s approach to building a relationship with my layout editor. I flap my eyelids and whine but I don’t even get a biscuit. It looks as if I will have to take another trip back to the strategic drawing board.