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3 Biggest CIO Blunders

cioToday’s CIO has to be more than just a great administrator. Of all executives, the CIO is in the unique position of needing to keep fluent in a highly technical field while at the same time dealing with the normal business details that all corporate officers have to deal with. On top of that, the IT budget for any given company is often one of the biggest pieces of the pie, particularly for companies that deal primarily in information.

To stay in the game, a CIO needs to be able to handle people as effortlessly as her staff handles technology. At the same time, she needs to avoid some of the most common and most destructive blunders.

Here are three of the biggest blunders a CIO can make:

Allowing corporate culture to conflict with IT structure.

In other words, allowing an environment to be created in which the behavior of people stands at odds with organizational or systemic design. When people butt up against systems or structures that don’t work within their own habits, behaviors and thinking processes, one of two things is going to happen.

One possibility is that they aren’t going to be happy and, eventually, create morale concerns. When people can’t adapt a system to their own view of the world and the way it works, they become intensely dissatisfied. Productivity falls and unrest ensues.

The other outcome isn’t much better. People will, by their very nature, attempt to fit systems to their own preferences, rather than adapting their behavior. Thus, they won’t utilize the full functionality of the system, or they’ll use it in a way that negates the benefits of having the system in the first place.

Failure to analyze and support IT’s business contribution.

IT is a cost center, not a profit center. Accordingly, even in the most progressive organizations, IT rarely gets all of the budget support it asks for.

As CIO, it’s your job to build the case for your organization. You need to be able to explain to the CFO how the new IP telephony system will reduce costs, while at the same time being able to explain to your network director why you’re requiring her to cut her data center operating costs by ten percent.

Weak non-operational functions.

You might have the best team of server engineers and admins in the world, but if your vendor management sucks you’re going to be vulnerable to downtime. Your department needs to excel at architecture, planning, project management, customer relations and the like.

Keep your people involved in key processes, from project initiation to end-user implementation. Even your security admin needs to take an occasional visit to user-land.

Non-tecnhical training and education play a huge role here. Making sure your managers have had project management and financial training will not only make your organziation that much stronger, it’ll make your job that much easier.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.