Top Management Awry

In the October 8th issue of Information Week the article by Marianne McGee indicates how badly awry management at the top of corporations is now. The Society of Information Management does an annual survey of what are the top ten concerns for CIOs and IT management. This is one of the strategic polls that I pay attention to because SIM has tended to hit pretty close to the consultants mark over the past dozen years.

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So what are the ten top concerns ? They are shown in the article chart on the left. Look at what tops the polls. These are fundamental management issues – not technology ones. And it is no surprise to see that organizations have been remiss during this era of outsourcing and high-priced, high-risk outside consultant ventures to see IT personnel management and mission rise to the top in an unprecedented manner.

Having observed some colleagues, managing critical projects, lose to “outsourcing”, raider consultants, and sheer stupidity some of their key people, I have seen directly the turmoil task that it is to keep IT managed on an even keel. Already strapped by short staff, these colleagues know what a terrible blow it is to lose critical people and have worked mightily to avoid such losses – only to be overturned by top management or fast changing events.

However, as the son of an Industrial Engineer I am not surprised. Manufacturing and R&D always were low men on the both the influence and pay totem poles in many of the companies during the 50’s through 80’s when “Progress was our most important product”. Many Top Managements simply did not know how to consistently manage and implement change and innovation in their product lines, processes and services with any  reliable ROIs. Hence the obsession with strategic planning during this era.

Well now IT technology is the great disruptor that is determining and conferring new strategic advantage on market after market – and faster than ever before.  IT changes products, markets, and services dramatically with embedded, integrated and/or connected IT capabilities.  Just ask the veterans of AT+T and GM if there are any left. And the pace and breadth of IT driven change permeates every aspect of every organization. Sounds like IT should be a strategic asset and investment – and appropriately managed as such.

Read now the full article for a sobering look at what is actually going on at the top in IT management. It is not pretty.

So Organizational Chairman, Directors, and CEOs – sit down and pour a 5th all over yourself, then light a cigar and enjoy the consequences. You might as well do that because you are doing the equivalent the way you are currently managing IT.

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