RealTime IT News

A CIO List For The New Year

Are CIOs obsessed with technology minutiae?

The research firm Gartner thinks many are, and that those who want to see their companies thrive, need to change.

In a preview of its annual list of New Year's resolutions for CIOs, Gartner  issued a preliminary list of do's and don'ts for those executives prepping for next year.

For example, on a short list of what CIOs should do more of in 2007, Gartner recommends making human resource departments more strategic.

"If marketing was the department to partner with in the first wave of Internet transformation, HR is the function to get on-side, as the second Internet 'revolution' washes across your bows," said John Mahoney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"The global talent wars of the next few years will depend on the ability to absorb and exploit revolutionary technical change. CIOs should expect to face a lack of comprehension from the HR department in 2006; however, his or her challenge is to overcome that."

And on the topic of human resources, Gartner said CIOs need to also start work on an IT leadership succession plan. As the baby boomers begin to retire, en masse, IT departments are threatened by a wisdom and leadership gap. At the same time, Gartner says the turnover is an opportunity to "clear out some of the dead wood," such as people who were over-promoted in the early days of IT.

Gartner vice president and fellow Mark Raskino, said CIOs would be well-advised to identify individuals with the creativity, ability and a determination to overcome corporate inertia and help IT deliver business innovation.

While evaluation and keeping up on the latest trends is important, Raskino said CIOs need to take a leadership role in stopping the organization from repeatedly discussing technology minutiae.

"All the noise around Microsoft Vista is a good example," said Raskino. "Make your decision about a technology and then stop debating it. Too many IT organizations waste energy in endless discussion loops, distracting attention from far more important issues."

The environment is also an issue that should be a top IT concern. "CIOs need to make sure they get their own house in order by setting targets for IT's contribution to electrical efficiency, recycling, travel reduction and equipment lifecycle management," said Mahoney. "They should also add environmental sustainability to their list of equipment, services and vendor selection criteria."

Yesterday, Andy Karsner, an assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy out of the U.S. Department of Energy met with tech executives in Silicon Valley.

He said the government has a legal obligation to help enhance technology efficiency and make the United States a more competitive nation. "High tech is an absolute juggernaut," when it comes to power consumption, said Karsner.

Gartner also said CIOs need to take the time to use the latest technologies if they hope to understand the business benefit. Mahoney mentioned four key technologies he said IT leaders should get their hands on in 2007: 3-D printing; social information analysis tools; newer high-level programming languages and virtual communities.