Monday, August 23, 2010

Main Themes

The 6-28 Information Week cover story by Chris Murphy titled "Return to Growth" raised questions I have been thinking seriously about for the last year. Is IT in most companies focused on the right things? Is IT really part of the growth agenda of these companies? Or it is, and the rest of the company, more comfortable with IT in a cost-controlling/make-business-processes-more-efficient (under the leadership of the business process owner) mode.

There are three main themes I want to explore in my writings. First is this one; that IT is not a strategic resource in most companies—although it should be—and that the role of CIO has mostly failed. I believe in most companies the CIO title should be withdrawn and replaced as the senior or executive vice president of IT. And if that causes a cascade of title demotions in IT all the better.
Second, managing IT costs is far more complex that most companies admit or know. I propose that almost no company gets a good return from their total IT expenditures (not just those assets in the data center or otherwise controlled by the ”IT Department.” Further, while most CFO’s suspect they aren’t getting a good return, they don’t have any data to evaluate.

Third, executive leadership in companies and the boards of directors of those companies need to recognize that the future of their company probably depends on exploiting IT to make it part of the growth agenda, part of the customer experience, and part of the business plan versus supporting the business plan. As such, executives and board members have got to start making executive and board-level decisions about IT.

I don't expect many of my positions to be popular but after more than forty years in IT I think there are a lot things that need to be fixed and need to be said.