The Dirty Little Secret is that most IT organizations’ executives (CIO, directors, managers) have fallen woefully behind the technology curve. They are the decision makers and caretakers of the technology, yet they have become incapable of providing the leadership required. As such, their organizations are unable to leverage the enabling technologies that are threatening to transform business itself.
This fact is the direct result of two important factors: (1) organizational reward systems and cultures, and (2) the absolute and relentless explosion of new technologies. The following is a short list of the technologies that have had an important impact on the corporate computing universe:
The PC was the shot that was heard around the world. It was the first of many destabilizing technologies to hit the corporate beachhead in the last 20 years. This relentless attack continues, with no end in sight. At best, savvy IT executives have struggled mightily to keep up with the buzzwords. But attending seminars and reading the rags is no substitute for leadership.
Why is this a Dirty Little Secret? Because, it is widely known, yet never discussed! Professionals that have cut their teeth on newer technologies recognize that there is something dreadfully wrong as soon as they hit the job market. It doesn’t take them long to realize that the generals, their lieutenants, and most of the sergeants are all ill equipped for battle. They know enough to be dangerous to themselves, their subordinates, and their organizations. That’s it.
Now that I have dropped the bomb, I would like to digress somewhat and share a few more anecdotes. After six months at Big Oil Company, I was part of a team that had rolled out a new purchasing system to one of its refineries. I spent quite a bit of time on-site, helping the end-user community and the developers back in Houston fight through the inevitable beta site implementation bugs. I made a concerted effort to build strong relationships with both teams, and was instrumental in facilitating the dialog and reducing organizational friction.