I've been reading a lot of stories and commentaries lately about IT governance and whose responsibility it is. One of the more insightful and balanced pieces I've come across was penned by Gartner analyst Julie Short on Silicon.com where she cited several reasons for why IT governance should fall to a company's board of directors.
I agree with many of her points, including how she sees "the lines between the business and IT becoming more blurred" and how IT tasks are being performed in the business, how business is taking on IT leadership roles and vice versa.
CIOs like to take on big challenges. Like helping companies to identify and execute on strategies to grow revenues in a down economy. Or stepping in to rescue a foundering project, such as a struggling ERP effort.
But some challenges are beyond gargantuan. Like being the CIO of Enron during the height of its legal and financial troubles.
Earlier this week I posted an item referencing the Cutter IT Journal, and I return to it now for an article that intrigued me if only for its novelty. Finally I read something that had other things to say about the qualities CIOs must have.
Here are some surprising (and not in a good way) things I learned from the current issue of the Cutter IT Journal, in the article "The Right Way to Recruit CIOs" by Robert Gariano, an executive-search veteran and founder of search firm Robert Gariano Associates:
A client emailed me asking "What should IT be doing now about the possible (and apparently likely) change of US accounting standards from GAAP to IFRS?" Here's what I wrote back:
Too early to say how the SEC will come down on this and to what extent US adoption will require prior changes in IFSR. Accountants tell me that in many ways GAAP is better defined and more rigorous so it is very unlikely the US will adopt IFSR as is. Most global companies already deal with dual compliance requirements. Now is the time to assess the capabilities of current systems and determine exactly what your current architecture is so that changes when known can be done in the most cost- and time-effective manner. Also to find out the plans of current vendors are as far as upgrading the current capabilities of their products. One might even consider compiling a short list of possible suppliers who are already providing dual capability. The need to separate business rules and data from application software so they can be managed as the independent variables that they are is critical because that is where the most difficult and extensive changes typically occur in situations like this. Now is the time for ready. Aim and fire will come later.
The role of CIO is a delicate balancing act between technical expertise and interpersonal savvy. Much has been said and written about CIOs' need for better communication skills in order to be taken seriously in the C-suite. Speak the language of business, not technology terms, goes the most common advice. On the other hand, in the event of an IT emergency, the CIO had better know his technology.