Interesting article

Robin Bloor writes about  Educating the CEO in the ways of IT. Great idea.

She then points out a major problem with implementing that concept:

An executive of an organisation I know that specialises in educating CEOs in a variety of areas, including IT, told us that he had once suggested organising IT brainstorming sessions where the CEOs could bring their CIOs along with them. However, every CEO to whom he suggested this rejected the idea immediately. None of them wished to expose their IT ignorance to their own CIO, especially not among a group of other CEOs and CIOs.

That’s not so bad, at least they are aware of their failings.  First step in correcting them and all that.

When they don’t understand IT and don’t know that they don’t…that is where you run into serious problems.

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5 Responses

  1. I think it’s a waste of time and money – A CEO’s job is to run the company, and MAKE DECISIONS. Not to know the nuances of IT. That’s the CTO/CIOs job. To come up with something for the CEO to make a decision on. It’s called Delegation.

    Lemme put it this way – do you expect Bill Gates to know how to restock the soda machine at Microsoft?

  2. Oh come on, you are just being contrary here. The soda machine example is absurd. The soda machine is not vital to the day to day operations and profitability of a company. The IT department often is.

    The article didn’t call for CEOs to be CIOs, but instead to at least know enough about a core part of the business to have an idea of what the CIO is talking about. That is a basic requirement in order for the CEO to do his job of MAKING DECISIONS.

    In high tech, your IT infrastructure often determines how effectively the rest of the company can do their jobs.

    Going outside high tech, B&M retailers now live and die by their IT infrastructure. It’s all about JIT inventory levels, optimal shipping, and highly accurate forecasting.

    The business of Fed Ex and UPS is shipping. They manage to do it effectively and make a nice profit, by using a very sophisticated IT infrastructure to manage their core business.

  3. Do you think Bill gates had anything other than a broad overview of the development of XP?

    Now, admittedly, if the core business is IT, that changes things somewhat, But do you expect the CEO of Exxon Mobil to be versed in it?

    I’ve worked in businesses where the President had no clue about the actual manufacturing of product. That’s what Man E’s and Production supervisors were for.

  4. You are still arguing against a point the article in question wasn’t trying to make.

    The article doesn’t claim that the CEO has to be a CIO. The point is that the CEO needs to know enough to know what the CIO is talking about a general level. Just like the CEO needs to know enough finance to know, at a general level, what the CFO is talking about. The CEO doesn’t have to know the manufacturing process cold, but when the VP of Operations wants to discuss a problem, he should know, at a 30,000 foot level, what is being discussed.

    I’ve given several examples of non-computer centric businesses that have achieved their high level of success due to their IT infrastructure. I’ve read multiple business cases about them and have seen it in my over twenty years in the networking business. It’s probably a really safe bet that the CEOs of those companies are not the CEOs who are being discussed in the article in question.

    Go read the whole article that the post links to.

  5. >Lemme put it this way – do you expect Bill Gates to know how to restock the soda machine at Microsoft?

    Nope; but he probably knows that the soda machine needs to be restocked.

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