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,
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
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
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.