Management

CIOs: Save The Data

Have you seen the prediction that the CMO will have a bigger IT budget than the CIO in a few years? Sounded like a horrible idea to me.

If a firm allows its C-Suite to establish and fund “Rogue IT” operations rather than give those resources to the CIO, that’s sub-optimal (which is a nice way of saying ‘dumb,’ or even ‘criminally negligent’). Think about it: IT is too slow–which often means ‘lacks resources’–so rather than adequately funding IT we’re spreading the money around to managers who lack IT training and experience. If it’s not a funding problem, then it must be a competency problem: the CIO can’t effectively use the IT resources at their command. CEOs and Boards, the answer is not to let departments manage around the bottleneck: fire the CIO and get one who can deliver.

That’s all great in theory, but I’m sure there are many competent CIOs who are faced with the reality of sanctioned Rogue IT or powerful C-Suite peers who just built something when nobody was looking.

What’s the best course of action if you’re a CIO in that situation? Simple, “SAVE THE DATA!”

One of the problems caused by Rogue IT is data fragmentation. If Sales goes out and implemented Salesforce.com on their own, they may have a beautiful sales funnel and a lovingly-crafted sales process, but the organization as a whole now has a ‘sales’ database in SFDC and customer’ database somewhere else (probably on your corporate mainframe).

A CIO in this situation generally controls the customer databases (and order databases, and billing databases, and…), and so has the chance to fix a bad situation by connecting the Rogue system(s)–with appropriate controls and safeguards, of course–to the corporate databases. Not only does the organization as a whole benefit, but if my experience is any guide the C-Suite peer will appreciate the value of data integration. If you as CIO have to work with a Rogue organization, build (secure, managed) bridges wherever possible. It’s all about the data anyway, right?

Wayne Sadin
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