They say that dogs eventually start to look like their masters. Would this pertain to CIO’s too? You tend to think so. More than ever, the CIO is reporting to the Chief Financial Officer again. Shocked by the economic downturn and the increasing pressure of regulatory compliance, management seemed to have good reasons for that.
I wouldn’t dare to stigmatise anybody, but we can safely assume that CFO’s have not been selected for their uncontrolled, wildly imaginative and innovative ways. Otherwise, they would have become video clip directors or fashion designers. And it’s easy to see how an understated, restrained view of the world cascades through the chain of command: sooner or later, some CIO’s start to look and act like accountants.
Dreadful indeed.
Especially when recent research proves that boardroom executives once again see the innovative value and growth potential of IT. And they are relying on the CIO to provide the spark of inspiration. In practice, I see many CIO’s struggle to articulate a compelling technology-enabled vision, let alone that they successfully reach out to the business side of the company and convince it of the transformation potential.

No doubt this is partially due to CIO’s being reprogrammed to threat IT as something that doesn’t matter and should be managed on cost and risk mitigation. But then again, we all must become the change we want to see. CIO’s must rediscover the innovative value of technology and demonstrate it to the outside world. And the most effective way to achieve that is to first apply it to their own business – to the IT department – before they roll it out to others.
It is truly a matter of eating your own dog food (or drinking your own champagne, as my French colleagues prefer): it is about using IT to transform yourself and then use it as a highly convincing, street-credible showcase to clients, in- or outside the organisation.
Obviously, this no easy task. So we thought it would be a good idea to mobilise the collective power of the CTO blog reader community to jointly create a top ten list of Things CIO’s Should Do To Themselves First Before Bothering Others. So please, let us have your builds. At the same time we will prove the potential of mass collaboration, or Wikinomics if you like.
What IT application would really, really make the difference in your own IT department? To get you started, here’s three ideas:
– Use portal software to provide an up-to-date, detailed insight of all ongoing IT projects to the business clients
– Use Web 2.0 technologies (wiki’s, social tagging, blogs, etc.) to create a new élan of creating and sharing knowledge within the IT department
– Use embedded, realtime business intelligence to continuously define, monitor and improve the performance of the IT department; also ensure that everybody has a KPI gadget on their desktop.
These are just some initial thoughts. We’re sure you can do much better, so we will anxiously be monitoring the comments section. Watch this blog for an updated Top Ten list soon.