…. so said the Pretenders in their cover of the Kinks classic (yes, I’ve noticed that recently I’ve been using song titles for my posts but why not ….) and those words inspired me into one of my few but sadly repetitive rants.
Why are so many IT leaders and C level technology execs such apologists. “Well, I’ve spent 30 years in IT but I did spend a week in product sales so I guess I really see my future as the MD of one of our regional businesses” …… Oh do you !! ….. Why ?? ….. What wrong with being in IT ?? Whats wrong with being a CIO ??
Here’s my take – the CIO’s job is the best one in the company. OK it has to be the right company and probably needs the right CEO but you made that choice when you joined. However, with very little else you might actually have the best role going. Think about it. The Sales Director can work damn hard and maybe improve sales volume. The Marketing Director can bust his hump and possibly improve brand recognition, the CFO can keep the numbers in line BUT only the CIO can look horizontally across the whole organisation and lay out the art of the possible. Only the CIO can sit with the CEO and chart a transformational journey from where we are to where we could be. Who wouldn’t want to do that !!??
Yes I know it comes with all the other stuff. Of course you’re the only exec who has to justify himself on an almost daily basis. It goes without saying that you’re only as good as your last major project or service outage and of course some wag will always ask you why he can’t have an iPhone but that came with the job. If you don’t like it – go do something else.
…. and please, please, please !!! …. all this talk of Business/IT alignment….. STOP IT NOW !! If you are still talking about this then its time to get another job. That ship has sailed. There is only your Business. IT is Business and Business is IT. The two are inextricably linked and one cannot exist without the other. So, don’t have a separate IT strategy. The only strategy you have is the one that defines your business and ever other function/OpCo/ Division in the company is there to make it happen. Don’t even use the word “alignment”. By its very use it re-enforces the notion of separation.
I still attend CIO events where the discussions are so ‘poor me’. “Why am I seen as just a service provider – I want to be strategic – I want to be on the board”. Now let’s be clear – there’s nothing wrong with being a service provider – unless you’re providing a cr@p service. Some of our best brands are service providers and are successful because they consistently deliver world class service. The difference is that our job starts from that position. However, if you crack that then the “world’s your lobster”
So that’s it – rant over. To paraphrase Jimmie ‘Brother’ Rabitte in The Commitments Stand up tall and shout it loud …. I’m in IT and I’m proud