CIO Summit: "Do We Matter" panel
Panelists: Leo Collins, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Lionsgate; Faisal Hoque, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, BTM Corporation; Anthony Jones, Chief Technology Officer, City of New Orleans. Moderator: Eric Chabrow, Editor-in-Chief, CIO Insight, Ziff Davis Enterprise.
Comments may be paraphrased.
Jones: huge layoffs post-Katrina, automated a lot to make up for it.
Question from the audience: How do you have resources to automate when you have fewer resources?
Jones: Not all processes need to be automated, study and prioritize.
Question: Should you maybe be all contractors, you are the CIO in a department of one?
Jones: We need city employees who understand city policies etc.
Offereins: You have to have staff even when you outsource.
Hoque: Soundbite culture mentioned by Begala last night, that's what Does IT Matter comes down to -- but the debate is important. Financial performance at the end of the is what matters. Too much technology in CIO job, needs to be focus on information.
Question (from me): Carr's new book is about the cloud, what's the role of a CIO in that world?
Hoque: We'll be left with management. Deciding if new tech has impact, say cloud or SOA or 2.0, the management is core focus -- governance, coherent business architecture, overall converged strategy. A lot of people now say business technology, now IT.
Jones: We need buyin from executive management. Easier for us if we don't do everything behind the scenes.
Offereins: My problem, more business partners with more good ideas...changes all come through my department, I'm like the velcro person, work just sticks to me...that may be part of financial services industry.
Hoque: Are you becoming more product management than info managment?
Offereins: Yes. Resource management. Anything that's a resource becomes a CIO concern.
Collins: Commoditiization forcing us to work at higher and smarter level. Uptime a given. A real push-up in where IT is, staff pushed to take more business classes.
Question from Wells-Fargo guy: We get hurt by the business.
Offereins: Tech couldn't help suprime, but maybe tools are worth testing -- ability to deal with unhappy callers, tech can be an enabler of customer relations but can't save the business.
Collins: IT you see the whole company.
Question: How to manage resources.
Offereins: I'm a believer in run-rate. You have to make cost takouts permanent, public companies don't like lumpy expense rates. You need to balance over time.
Hoque: Management goes to funding, a lot of CIOs don't control their own budget.
Question: Outsourcing leads to fear, how to refocus quality people from old tasks?
Collins: Be realistic. I used to be in charge of corporate VAC support, we know how that ended. Tell people, this is a great career but nobody is going to retire as an Exchange administrator. A lot of people may want to work on the raised floor, but the jobs may be very different. We're moving to collaborative software, I will help train you that way.
Offereins: Culture shift. Show people you value extra skills.
Hoque: Cross-disciplinary skills necessary as tech becomes more commodity. Highly specialized tech career may not be inside a corporation. You won't find software kernel developer in a non-software company, or non-OS company.
Question from CIO of apparel co: We're commoditizing tech as we add responsibility, e.g. supply chain, facilities. Becoming more like COO, anything with information is managing process.
[Relevant CIOI article here.]
Question: Supporting existing infrastructure. It's not visible to executive management. Do we need to stage failures to get attention?
Collins: We make sure they see it. I or one of my reports see senior people every day. Stop by and say hi. Ask about their hybrid car, or iPod, or IT issues. Marketing never ends. I'm a salesman -- I buy from IBM, and I sell to Lionsgate.
Jones: Key word is relationships.
Hoque: Selling is educating.
Collins: And they are educating me. My boss got the original Nick Carr article from me. We said we agree on some stuff, not on others.
Offereins: We look quarterly at ROI. A lot of reporting back in a uniform fashion across the company is beneficial.
Hoque: If you focus on tools, but not on implementing across company, governance, etc, you will lose.
Jones: I created a project management office. Scope, budget, schedule are transparent to dept heads.