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Wednesday, September 07, 2016

IT Leadership

A CEO has a decision - who to lead IT now that the current CIO is leaving due to many failed projects and a general perception that the company's use of technology is falling behind.

The background: the company has business and department leaders housed in mahogany offices on the top floor of it's fancy headquarters. They've identified that collaboration is the issue - too many decisions are being made in a bubble without the appropriate input from across the business. This is why the last few technology projects have failed and they cannot afford another failure. Current collaboration technology includes Lotus Notes email, no instant messaging, an old analogue phone system and no video conferencing.

The CEO has three choices to fill the role:

  1. The technology wizard - vast experience with the company's IT systems and all relevent vendor / industry certifications.
  2. The MBA graduate - business undergrad with an MBA focusing on Information Systems management, hired two years ago as a director and being groomed for the executive fast-track.
  3. The outside technology consultant with business acumen - loads of hands-on technical experience, but no systems or management experience with this particular company.

What should the CEO do?

The tech wizard develops a Cisco-based VoIP solution with integrated Jabber instant messaging for presence. He recommends a migration to Microsoft Exchange and Outlook client to better schedule meetings with available people and resources. Desktop video conferencing will be deployed along with high definition telepresence room systems. He plans to tie in mobile phones for find-me / follow-me location services. The solution is tech-heavy and costly and the CFO balks - it's a no-go.

The recent MBA grad doesn't start with a technology solution; rather, decides a business plan is required to provide cost justification for any IT expenditure and commissions a study to gather data on the usage and outcomes of existing collaboration methods in the company. Surveys are used to gain feedback and build consensus for a solution to be recommended in the business proposal final report. This takes too long and the company goes defunct in the interim.

The consultant has experience in the real world and sees how technology can be applied to the business problem of deficient collaboration. The technology he recommends - a sledge hammer.

Break down the walls, open office plan, collaboration problem solved!

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