Some CIOs Say Corporate Directors Are Clueless About IT–“ Short Order Code Kitchen Burned Down Years Ago and Some Di
Posted Nov 22 2012 8:13pm
This article talks about “undereducated” boards when it comes to IT and you can read the news if you are IT savvy and see a story on some of those types of comments any week on the web. Most of those stories end up with a very narrow and defensive view of IT and it does no good as sometimes the right decisions are not made. The one comment here from a CIO in this article that really makes sense is “If they don't know about technology," she says, "they can't imagine what I'm imagining”. That is such a true statement as I run into that as well just consulting and sometimes I encounter some board members and they have no clue let alone the patience for me to explain to help them understand.
The “short order code kitchen” that I referenced in the title is an old paradigm that you just call in the CIO or the IT bunch or both and they build what you want and how you want it, worked in the early days but not exactly that way today with integration of data systems and more working on the web, but they still think so. It was easier for me too back then to build as when you have nothing anything is an improvement and when your information is on a single SILO, security is much easier too and that area has grown in the last couple of years as the bad guys are getting smarter too.
Today boards have to spend more time on technology issues and that’s an issue too with government as complexities grow. Sometimes they end up going with legal advice only and that’s only half of the puzzle. IT folks are pretty much on top of what they can do legally but they get overridden at times and then nothing gets done. Again government, same issues and just look at the SEC, headed by someone watching the legal doors and a bit clueless as far as the actual technology and how it works. Even various public CIOs have had to become a lot more aware of technology, as after all folks it’s an IT infrastructure of the biggest kind running all of this.
What makes matters worse is that some board members have never met or had occasion to hear what the CIO has to say and they design it that way and they are the losers. Having a board member that has tech savvy is good thing and it’s not always the CEO of a tech company as many of those at the top are “executives” that can be as lost as the other board members. Again those companies that plan to grow should realize that a good CIO can be worth more value than the CEO when it comes to planning, why? There’s no company out there running without an IT infrastructure and who better to advise than the CIO. BD
CIO — Even as companies are relying more on technology to come up with innovative business models and fresh ideas for finding new revenue, many boards of directors don't understand enough about IT to keep up. Few CIOs sit on boards and, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, just 1 percent of directors have any technology background at all. Discussion of IT issues in meetings around the mahogany table can be measured in minutes.
There's a dangerous lack of confidence in the board's digital literacy, revealed in our exclusive survey of 250 IT leaders. Sixty-four percent say the board "doesn't do its homework" about technology matters and 57 percent say directors rely heavily on what they read in the press to evaluate IT strategy. Some 40 percent say board members "don't really care about IT."
One $5.5 billion healthcare company has no technology committee on its board, but the board calls on the CIO often to make presentations or answer ad hoc requests, says the CIO, who asked not to be quoted. The board has asked for her views on topics such as new industry partnerships and startups, the company's competition and what it needs to stay strong into the future.
That the board consults the CIO about such core issues shows that both it and the IT leader are enlightened, Metayer says. "I don't know any company not struggling with some technology issue. Diversity of thought at the board level is an important way to approach those struggles."