For many years I've used this forum and others to fret about the decline of IT as an engine of innovation and competitive differentiation. For those of us who love the job more than the title, love to design and code systems more than plan budgets and write performance reviews, it's been painful watching hundreds of ersatz CIOs, transferred in from other departments, chop off bits and pieces of IT and throw them overboard. Sadly, most IT departments are now tasked with coordinating the installation of somebody else's software and negotiating contracts with outside companies to keep systems running on networks that are being monitored by yet another collection of third parties. For most CIOs, this voluntary and catastrophic loss of internal capability is worth the comfort of knowing that they need not worry about a shortage of IT talent and that keeping up with everybody else is simply a matter of being skilled in contract negotiations. As a result, most IT departments are now staffed by people who know how to work things but don't know how they work.
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