Twilight of the CIO

October 6, 2007

Nick Carr is playing devils advocate again to some effect:

The CIO doesn’t matter,” writes vnunet’s Silicon Valley Sleuth. “In [the new] reality, the average firm doesn’t need a CIO – or at least doesn’t need one as part of the management team. Such a role warrants an IT organization that is constantly raising the bar on its vendors and software. Companies like Google, Merrill Lynch or Wal Mart need a CIO. But for the majority of the economy, a CIO demonstrates a desperate attempt…

The rest of the article is worth reading and corresponds with my own experience. It also links back to my post of yesterday about ICT in schools and the danger of failing to treat IT as a tool, and instead seeing its use through the filters of fetishism.

At the same time on ActKM I made two statements earlier on in the week. One to the effect that I had never seen, within the context of real, need at the time of that need (yes Matt it was heavily qualified) anyone other than a psychopath refuse someone knowledge. The second was a throwaway response to the effect that intelligent people would not refuse something that made them more effective. Now someone has chose to argue with me using a series of examples, largely derived from their personal and bitter experience.

What is interesting from this morning’s exchange is that it is evident that the individual’s cases are all of people rejecting or failing to use IT systems that would have made them more effective. I find this interesting. Now don’t get me wrong, IT is critical to the modern organisation, but the over hyped claims of IT Departments are not. It might be argued that users rejecting the hype of new systems from IT is not an example of a failure of intelligence, but rather a proof of its existence.

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