by Mark Chillingworth

Blast from the past

Nov 14, 2010
IT Leadership

Yet another surveylanded on the CIO desk last week and for a moment I thought I was going through a Life on Mars or Ashes to Ashes flash back. That old term “alignment” was apparently a major cause for concern and failure by CIOs because they were not integrating the software of “operational” technology sufficiently. I find statement like this difficult to believe and completely alien to the experience we have here on interviewing and spending time with CIOs day in day out. In this issue alone we have interviews with three CIOs that fully understand the business requirements of alignment and have successfully aligned the IT across their organisations. We have examples from the public sector – a CIO working with the management team to ride out strike action and deliver technology that responds to emergencies; a CIO at the forefront of a major divestment and who worked with the management team on the sale of their organisation who is aligning his IT with the IT of other users at his airport. We also profile a CIO in the IT industry who spends considerable time with his sales team.

I could go on, but it would read like an index of the CIOs we have interviewedand profiled. I discussed this survey with some CIOs and other specialists in the CIO sphere. Not one could agree with these findings that CIOs in the UK suffer from poor business and technology alignment. We did uncover examples in Europe and Asia Pacific. Granted CEOs may be making requests for strategies they are already receiving and this seems to be where the confusion from the survey lies.

Perhaps this “research” organisation spends too much time with IT vendors and not enough time with the real CIO community. Or perhaps it feels it is OK to headline chase by nailing together broad brush survey material and hope no one spots that the trend is very different in the UK and for that matter other economies.

If there is alignment problem in our sector, it is far more likely to come from those outside of the CIO sphere.