One of the most valuable lessons learnt during my time as a business leader was that a tan isn\u2019t good. Best case scenario is you look like someone more interested in having a good time than in building a serious business. Worst case\u2026 well, I think a certain Mr Buckles of G4S may be able to elaborate further on the worst case.\nI have to admit to having no sympathy whatsoever for Mr Buckles although you can just imagine the torture his PR team went through as the media and MPs went to town on him (assuming he had one of course \u2013 there wasn\u2019t any communication strategy on view that I could see). It is bad enough that he had overseen a catastrophic failure in almost every system imaginable but he turns up to apologise looking like a banker stepping off a yacht in St Tropez.\nWhat has this got to do with being a CIO you might ask? Quite a lot actually. This is a perfect example of what happens when the senior leadership don\u2019t know what is going on inside the business. You would have to be sceptical about the claims that G4S only knew the extent of the problem a couple of weeks before the opening ceremony but at whatever point they did realise it was clearly too late. At the end of the day the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the CEO (ignorance is no defence) but in the modern business it is the CIO\u2019s job to ensure the systems are in place to deliver that insight and ensure the management team is aware of any proverbial s**t before it hits the fan.\nIt\u2019s at times like these that you realise just how important effective information intelligence is and what can happen without it. In a company like G4S that operates with high volume and low margins \u2013 an effective information strategy is a no brainer.\nIt\u2019s not just a question of oversight but also having the right tools to manage the processes in the first place. And information intelligence is not just another buzz phrase \u2013 it\u2019s about having the data management and workflow systems in place to enable you to understand and analyse data in real time (insight), work with people inside and outside the business (collaboration), tell you when something is wrong and help you understand why (alerting) and, perhaps most critical at least in dealing with the aftermath of such as public failure, understanding what people that matter think and developing an effective response (sentiment).\nInformation intelligenceis all the more critical in helping company\u2019s make good use of today\u2019s social media environment. Maybe I have just been in the IT business too long but if you are trying to recruit 10,000 people in less than a year I would have thought the internet and social media would have been the place to start. Twitter? Facebook? Hello?\nAnd what about an online portal for recruits to sign up and get information about training. I am not saying that social media would have solved the problem \u2013 maybe there just aren\u2019t that many people out there who want to be an Olympic security guard \u2013 but G4S would have reached a lot more people a lot faster and the onboarding process would also have been much quicker with an effective strategy for the social channel.\nClearly I don\u2019t work for G4S, but I struggle to see how they could possibly have had anything resembling an information intelligence strategy of any kind if the management team were only aware of the scale of the problem so late in the day. They should have had access to real time information on how many recruits were going through the training, where they were in it, what the drop out rate was, which channels were most effective for recruitment etc etc. There should have been workflow processes and automation tools that flagged issues proactively when triggered \u2013 whether it\u2019s a lower than expected number of recruits or training programmes running late.\nBut if we are talking about the failure to use communication tools and channels effectively it doesn\u2019t stop with the workflow processes either. When it came to the crisis management after the story had broken things didn\u2019t improve. Seems to me that shoving your sun burnished CEO in front of the cameras for a mea culpa is a little old fashioned. The company\u2019s silence across the social channels spoke volumes. While thousands of conversations went across the twittersphere G4S were entirely absent. No attempt to engage and explain.\nGoing back to the insight element of information intelligence what amazed me - and I have to admit as a tax payer whose money is funding this programme \u2013 angered me was the total lack of information that Mr Buckles had to hand when he faced the cameras and the MPs at the Home Affairs Select Committee hearing. Where were the latest facts and figures? Where was the understanding of what was going on within the organisation right then? Instead we got promises that G4S would \u2018deliver a significant number of staff\u2019 (significant to whom?) and lots of \u2018abouts\u2019 and \u2018at leasts\u2019.\nWhat was most telling however was the comment Nick Buckles made about \u2018digging into the data day by day\u2019. In this day and age you shouldn\u2019t have to dig through data to get to the truth. The business intelligence, analytics and communications systems are all there to deliver \u2018the truth\u2019 to you in real time, as and when you need it. Mr Buckles should have been able to find out instantly how many people he had, where they were, when they would be ready etc etc.\nIf there is one good thing to come out of this whole sorry tale then it is the fact that CEOs up and down the land will be looking at this and wanting to make damn sure that they have the insight needed to avoid this kind of catastrophe. The G4S story shows the value of what a CIO can deliver and what can happen without it. That is little comfort to Mr Buckles mind you \u2013 or to the thousands of troops called off leave to confiscate bottles of Pepsi. On that note I would also like to point out that as someone lucky enough to get tickets for the opening ceremony, I didn\u2019t see a single G4S security person the entire time I was there. Hardly surprising perhaps.