Friday, May 20, 2011

Business Outcomes

The May 15th CIO Magazine is such a duh.  Basically the main theme is that CIOs are changing their mantra from "alignment" to "IT and business are one."

Duh.

I have argued for years that aligning IT and the business is far more representative of failed CIOs than a valid IT strategy.  I am not sure I even know what alignment means.  If it means the strategies and objectives of the company as a whole then a misalignment should have been corrected immediately.  If it means aligning with every business leader than IT is going to be dysfunctional because not every business leader is aligned with the goals of the company. 

Gasp!

There are times when great CIOs drive things.  I think of Max Hopper moving SABRE from an internal American Airlines system to a travel agent system.  Or of Dennis Jones pushing customer automation for FedEx.  But most CIOs are consumed by working the edges--trying to get their resources on those projects that best meet the company's goals.

If this recession taught IT anything it is that IT and the business are one and always have been.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HP's Results

I liked Mark Hurd.  I liked him when he was at NCR and I liked him at HP.  I was totally surprised by his leaving HP and the circumstances just seemed uncharacteristic.  But I have been fooled before by men's behavior and I have no inside knowledge.  Nevertheless I thought he was on the right track at HP.

Today's results were pinned on Mark and I guess that is to be expected.  That is the way of corporations.  When someone leaves a company anything accomplished gets claimed by someone and all failures are piled on the departed.

I was a large HP customer and HP had done some really good things for me.  But sometime in 2008 things weren't going as well.  Technical resources were now focused on selling services and they were bad at it.  There were times they were trying to sell services they hadn't even documented yet.  This was especially bad after the EDS acquisition.

So maybe Mark Hurd was at fault for HP's results or maybe he didn't get the right people assigned to do the work.  HP needed a services business and EDS was about the only option.  HP's cost structure was out of line with IBM's and had to be fixed.  I think he made the right strategic business moves but obviously the execution and integration didn't go well.