My recent piece in the Financial Times (click here) focuses on the fact that most businesses do not have clear performance goals, which in turn causes the IT leadership to lack direction.
In this chaotic market the default goal is most likely to be ‘keep the IT infrastructure working as before but now with less budget’. Under such stressful conditions it is unlikely that the CIO’s primary goal will extend further than “keep my job”.
Fear works as a short-term adrenaline shot. Over time its effect is corrosive. Not just for the IT leadership but for those that are subjected to the associated management-by-headless-chicken style.
Many business leaders have unilaterally imposed budget cuts on their IT functions. CIOs who are keen to remain in employment know that now is not the time to put up a fight. However the strain that this puts the IT function under is likely to lead to the ‘ball being dropped’.
Business leaders may find themselves facing a serious business issue, eg. a major customer service failure) caused by a a stressed out IT function. The initial budget cuts will pale into insignificance compared to the associated costs.
Somehow we need to get this message through to senior executives. Or perhaps the best option is to wait? An Enron scale scandal is maybe what is needed to help business leaders make the connection.