Change. That is the overriding theme of today. So that got me thinking about the relationship between IT and Business, the classic IT and Business Alignment problem, and how “everyone” is always promoting that it must change. After all, it’s been an issue for like, well, forever.
CEOs are always saying they need their IT organizations to understand the business to be aligned, synchronized, converged, or whatever. They want the CIO to understand the ‘business’. If this is the case, when looking for a CIO, why do organizations tend to look only at those who have worked exclusively, or primarily in technology? Sure, the person has to have some level of understanding about technology, but does the CIO really need to know every detail of C#, Visual Basic, or Java?
I recently had a conversation with ‘Jack’, a CFO of a Fortune 1000 organization who was sharing a conversation he had with a friend of his, ‘Mark’ – a Fortune 500 CEO. Mark was having issues getting value and alignment out of his IT organization and was considering outsourcing the group. Jack told him, “Before you do that, you need to make sure you have the right leader in that position – someone who understands the big picture.”
Every organization is different – just ask them. Maybe it’s time to do something different. Remember the classic definition of insanity: Keep doing the same thing but expect a different result. Seems to me that if you truly want to change the way IT functions in the organization, looking outside the technology sandbox for a leader might not be a bad idea.
Let me know your thoughts!