When CIOs Expire

Here is an interesting story told to me recently:

Company XYZ was looking to expand and needed an infusion of money from investors. During the vetting process it was discovered that IT was not adequately being managed in a way that would allow the company to expand.

An outside IT consultant was called in to take a hard look, make recommendations and report directly back to the CEO.   During the process it was discovered that several systems would crash twice a day everyday and this has been occurring for several years. It happened with such regularity that staff just lived with it and accepted it. It seems that the CIO and his staff like to build their equipment from scratch to save money. The CIO and IT staff would build their servers and PCs from the ground up instead of purchasing them from vendors. The CIO had no desire to change this process. “This is how I have always done it and this is how we will continue to do it!”

This was reported back to the CEO and the recommendation was that the CIO be replaced. A few days later and interim CIO was put in place and began the lengthy process of bringing this company’s systems up to a level that was acceptable.

This is not the first I have heard of such a story. CIOs need to change along with the business. CIOs who hold a company “hostage” and not helping the business should be shown the door – QUICKLY!!!

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11 thoughts on “When CIOs Expire

  1. Good Grief –

    I cannot tolerate that thinking in a small business “tech admin’

    Let alone someone with a ‘C’ in the title!

    That is IT Service & Financial management failure at any level.

    I am flabbergasted…..

    Regards.

  2. Interesting…so what was the rest of management doing? Were they so IT afraid that they didn’t know this and just let IT do whatever?

    This is as much as management’s fault as it is the CIOs. Which is amazingly shocking on its own … Wow.

    • From what I gathered, it was the old situation that management did not know better and a little afraid. I agree that management is at fault. But as you and I know, this situation stills occurs, as sad as that may be…
      Thanks for the comment Lui.

  3. Sounds like a situation I walked into a few years ago. Truly amazing…a few cases of making people “available to industry” later and things began to shape up nicely!

    -Don

    • Don,
      This post has received several comments from experienced IT execs all commenting that they to have experienced such situations. It amazes me that this is still happening. Senior management needs to wake up and see that this is not acceptable.

  4. Sad but true. I’ve seen this one played out many times.
    At my last job, we were acquiring several companies a year with sales in the $50mm to $650mm range. I can tell you that each and every one of them had issues similar to this example. Drivers for this situation: the tech staff just loves their toys; coupled with the “only we can do it right” mentality; coupled with some resume building. The reasons that they got away with it were differing in each case and I won’t get into that right now. In the end, yes, it was management’s fault; both IT and business mgmt.

  5. I agree with all that it is indeed also a management issue. Managements should understand IT to at least a relevant level of detail.

    Similar to finance, supply chain, sales etc.

    That being said – yes – too often senior managers in businesses of all sizes are unfamiliar (and afraid) of the ‘black box’ that is IT

    And I deem it a complete failure of any business technology manager that has not spent a significant portion of his / her time educating on what technology can, and cannot do.

    I know that in some cases it may seem like trying to put out a forest fire with a garden hose, but If a business tech manager has preached, documented risks, costs, and transparent reporting of all IT successes, and failures, and management **still chooses not to act….

    Different story.

  6. Pingback: Larger Business CIO’s Can Fail The Basics Too « A Dime a Dozen Small Business, Tech and Talk

  7. Pingback: Larger Business CIO’s Can Fail The Basics Too | Strategic Technology

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