As I continue to look for my new CIO role. I am coming across some organizations that are looking outside their respect industry for talent. I recently interviewed with a publishing company who said flat out they want someone not from the publishing world. “Why?” I asked. They felt that publishing expertise is lagging behind other industries in their use of technology. I have seen other firms looking for these barbarians to manage their data. It is a refreshing thought.
This is a great opportunity for an organization to bring onboard an innovative disruptor to shake things up. As I have said in the past, change to some extent is good for any organization. As technology marches forward can any CIO say they are an expert in all areas? Will a CIO have the experience to try new things? To take chances in order to make progress? These are fundamental questions for any CEO or CIO to contemplate.
I strongly believe that a CIO’s developed skills in one industry can be transferred successfully to another industry. Who’s to say that a medical CIO’s experience cannot be used in publishing? Granted there will be a learning curve, but there will be a learning curve for anyone taking on a new leadership role.
It might be scary for some who find comfort in knowing their respective industry inside and out. Myself- I believe that I am that barbarian that looks for new challenges. Working in different industries allows me to increase my marketability and continue to add to my toolbox.
I am a horrible golfer. I am first to admit it. I struggle with having a complete game. There are days when my long game is on point and others when my short game and putting is phenomenal. It is rare that both are working together. I struggle with it because I want to improve. Like anything in life, if I was good at it from the start what fun will be that be? Maybe it is my weird sense of what fun is.
A new virtual golf business opened not too far from my home. Great little joint and the simulators help work on your game during the brutal winter months when that Polar Vertex is hovering over us.
I started to think about the simulator and the amount of data it was using to alow us to play a round of golf. Can Big Data be used to improve a golfer? Or allow a professional golfer to win more tournaments?
Here is a hypothetical – say you are able to capture the following data:
Day of the year
Weather information (wind, humidity, etc)
Course information (distance, markers, green info, etc, etc)
The above information is readily available on most golf GPSs. And clearly most golf simulators are able to capture a lot of data such as swing speed, club head angle, etc.
Now if we add the following information player specific dat
Average # of shots played previously on that course
Distance made with specific clubs for that course
How the player is playing the day of (soft data point)
Can this information be loaded into a database and be crunched and then sent to an iPad or other device to allow a player to know what club he should/or should not use and how to hit?
All this rests on if a player is able to duplicate his swing repeatedly. For most amateurs that is impossible. But I think a professional golfer can easily do that.
There is definitely a place for this type of information in this sport.
I saw this commercial on TV and thought it was well done. It speaks volumes about innovation and teamwork. I have been a Lego builder since I was 5. I felt that as toy it has the ability to be so much more and this commercial says that.
The other day I was having a conversation with someone in there 20s and I mentioned a TV Guide. They gave me that look you get when you tell people you remember when TV sets had knobs.
As technology marches on, there are some items in print that have or are disappearing. I remember reading the TV Guide but I have not used on in over 10 years, since I got cable and use the online TV Guide.
Do you remember encyclopedias? I grew up using them in school. With the internet you can find virtually any fact you need.
What about a dictionary or thesaurus? When was the last time you looked up a definition for a word? MSOffice has made them obsolete as well or you can use the internet.
I still read a newspaper on occasion. But for the most part I now read it more often on online.
As for magazines, I do read those. Mostly on my commute home or on the plane. But now they are quickly getting thinner with more content online along with more online ads.
Maybe some day we will no longer have to print information on paper. In some ways that is great progress. But in others something nostalgic is lost.
There are many types of CIOs-– operational, strategic, and transformational; each has their advantages. A good CIO is one that has all these traits. There is another trait that has advantages to an organization. That trait is disruptive.
Many CIOs stay within a particular industry. A pharma CIO will normally stay in pharma or a financial CIO will generally stay in financial services. Very few jump industries and very few organizations look beyond their particular industry for a different type of CIO.
However, bringing in a CIO from anther industry has the potential to be a disruptive influence in an organization. Disruptive in a positive way. A disruptive leader is one that fights the status quo; bringing in new ideas and processes – a fresh set of eyes looking at how to improve existing processes.
A disruptive CIO is one willing to step out of the rank and file and acts boldly against the norm that lulls an organization into complacency. He/she acts as a catalyst to move a company from lethargy into positive-changing actions. Being a disruptive CIO is a tough and messy role. Most organizations have a culture of fear and risk aversion that makes it difficult for a disruptive leader to step forward. However, for those that do step out, they have the ability to move a company beyond irrelevance and into a mindset that the status quo is not acceptable and change is good.
I have been actively interviewing. While it has been an interesting time to look for a senior level role I have been cautious about the organizations I have been interviewing with. I have come to realize that some organizations still do not see IT has a strategic tool but purely at a utility with no real long-term value. It is these organizations that I try to stay away from and recently have passed on further interviewing.
I use the initial interview to really get a sense of the organization. And if there are any red flags politely decline further interviews. Here are some of the questions I have asked during the interview:
Is technology a component of the business plan?
How do executives obtain information?
What goals and values define the current technology organization?
Are technology best practices and standards followed?
How does the enterprise select and acquire technology?
How effectively does the current portfolio of application support members?
How does the enterprise implement technology?
How does the enterprise manage and maintain technology assets?
How does the enterprise manage security, privacy, integrity, and compliance?
How does the enterprise measure performance?
Is there a willingness of staff to embrace openness and change?
Is there a willingness of senior executives to serve as stewards of IT and ensure IT supports the mission?
Is there a willingness to keep things that work and get rid of those that don’t ‐ whether it is a legacy software application, broken business process or failing project ‐ reallocating resources to better investments?
Is there sufficient resources to support initiatives with skilled personnel, funding, and time?
Is there active and visible senior management support?
Is there a well‐defined and disciplined processes for information capture, stewardship, and quality and accuracy assurance of information?
I have been amazed about some of the responses I have received. But it is better to find out now then 6 months into your tenure where you might be struggling.