Oh I See! Getting CIOs to view their jobs from a different angle

Jan 10 2012   4:32AM GMT

Walk the talk

Arun Gupta Arun Gupta Profile: Arun Gupta

Almost all of my posts are based on personal experience or interactions with people from various walks of life. For a change, while looking for new topics to write about, I started scanning a few Web sites positioned at CIOs and aspiring CIOs. I also decided to look up a few celebrity bloggers and tech writers who have either been ex-CIOs or respected consultants and speakers in many CIO forums internationally.

I do receive and read more than 50 odd newsletters every day across various subjects; industry specific from retail (my chosen industry for the last five years), Human Resources (for people tips and ideas), e-commerce, social media, leadership, current affairs, regional news, politics, and many CIO focused sites. These are supplemented with some internet browsing, five newspapers and some IT magazines daily. The summaries and news briefs keep me updated with information which helps me understand trends and stay current with the world.

Being worldly relevant
Coming back to my search of the sites, the idea was to look at what is the world talking about? Can I pick up a few insights that could help me in creating the next week’s blog? Are my posts still relevant to the CIO or am I living in a world detached from reality? What new innovation have I missed while running on the technology treadmill (see my last week’s post) and getting to be a retailer and a coach to start-up CEOs and future CIOs?

Headlines on new product introductions (tablets, phones, servers) and some of the hyped upcoming technologies took up 70% of the landing page across all the sites. A few links to notable blogs on the sites, vendor advertisements and videos made up another 20%. Desperately, I started scanning for CIO leadership, business challenges, innovation, people management, and customer engagement, anything that was removed from technology.

CIO case studies
On one site I did find some hidden behind a menu option; it was a CIO case study on how she overcame a difficult business situation with her expertise in business. On another site, a menu button offered expert advice; but clicking a few links got me some technology experiments and vendor sponsored white papers. When every publication rues and makes a case for a business savvy CIO, why is the content not reflecting this? Why are these sites still about technology and are they really targeting the CIO?

The CIO and business
Take any IT publication (physical or electronic), irrespective of the target audience (CIO, IT managers, channel partners, broad-based audience), the editorial or one of the cover stories is always about what the CIO should be doing to stay relevant to the business. The underlying theme is always about business before IT. But after the preaching is done, back to business as usual, do you know about the new 64-core server or the next crossover device with zillion pixel screen?

They proclaim, CIOs should evolve, cite surveys from other CXOs, CIOs, vendors … and then publish technology trends, new servers, tablets, smart phone comparisons, stuff that matters to a technology professional, and detached from a CIO who would depend on his/ her team to advise him on the relevant tools required to achieve the defined business objective. Why can they not walk their talk if their defined target audience is indeed the CIO or the senior IT leader?

I believe that evolution is slower and selective than technology innovation.

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