Every day we take for granted things like voice mail, email, chat, and texting, but it might be interesting if we could get into the “Wayback Machine” with Mr. Peabody, and go back to that one crucial moment long ago at some corporate board meeting, when (theoretically at least) some management executive might have asked, ‘Well, Mr./Ms. CIO, give the board an estimate of the ROI for this email thing you’re proposing. What productivity does it offer? What kind of return can we expect? What are the negatives? What could it cost us, if it’s a flop?’
What’s not to love about bargains… for example, getting more IT at a lower cost! There are a plethora of new technologies that seem to offer the tantalizing but risky promise of IT bargains to be had. These new delivery models signal a paradigm shift from IT constructing to IT acquiring and deploying (Sunoco CIO Peter Whatnell, The new delivery models and the economics of IT, August 4, 2010: 8:12 to 8:51) IT is now in a difficult place, responsible for providing and utilizing services to help business that may be delivered in environments over which it has little control. There are serious issues at stake, including security risks, irretrievability/retrievability of data from the cloud, and tradeoffs. So what does it take to get IT and business to dance together in sync?
40 years ago, there were public phone booths dotting the landscape for anyone on the move. Then suddenly, phones lost those physical tethers and morphed. Recently, an engineer accidently forgot his top secret next gen iPhone prototype at a public place, allowing news of its new features to be leaked to the press. It’s the ever expanding array of features that allow these smart phones to transcend their humble heritage as simple voice carriers. Mobile phones are true technological innovations that have fundamentally changed how we live and do business.
The history describing the role that CIOs played in establishing technology as a business tool at the start of the 21st century is still being written, with a blank page for the ending. What will be written? Will the role become a footnote explaining an obsolete acronym? Will the role atomize into multiple IT managers for each one of multiple business units? Or, will there be a big bang and rebirth into some new business role/ hybrid business-technology leader?
These 3 personalities encompass what Atti Riazi, CIO of the NYCHA (and former CIO of Ogilvy World Wide, as well as member of CIOs without borders) describes as her vision of the enlightened IT leader. (Politics in IT Organizations: The silent killer, CIO Talk Radio. August 23, 2010 18:30 – 18:44). …An interesting combination. These 3 historic personages as a definition of a CIO cover an intriguing and broad range of leadership skills: - wartime negotiator and political champion, saint with a mission to save the world, and a focused attacker of the enemy, be that enemy a competitor or a problem.