Don leave your people behind

Ever since the first CIOs ditched their pocket protectors and shrugged into their executive suits, they\ve yearned for parity ...

Ever since the first CIOs ditched their pocket protectors and shrugged into
their executive suits, theyve yearned for parity with the enterprises other
business executives. Now, as the business asks CIOs to come up with new ways to
make money and not just save it, that day has finally dawned.
Exciting times. As Executive Editor Christopher Koch writes in "The Postmodern
Manifesto," "CIOs will need to transform themselves into innovation leaders,
not merely infrastructure stewards, and they will have to remake their
departments in that image."
This is heady, absorbing stuff innovating, remaking departments, rearchitecting
the enterprise, reinventing the CIO role but in all the excitement, CIOs need
to remember that these changes may not be all that much fun for their IT staff.
As New York Life CIO Judith Campbell told Koch, "Moving to the innovation group
isnt a natural career path for many [IT] people. They tend to like technology
more than they like processes." But focusing on business processes, on
improving, enhancing and streamlining them, is becoming ITs number-one job. As
Dow Chemical CIO David Kepler says, IT has to "be allied with the company first
and technology second."
What happens to the people who find the part of their jobs that they like best
programming, for example outsourced in order to free them up to do process, or
tacit work (the new buzzword)? The CIO knows this change is good for IT and
good for the business, but the truth is, it may not be good for the individual.
Change is hard. People get hurt. And then they leave. As Koch writes, "CIOs
will need all the leadership skills they can muster to manage this shift
without driving their most experienced people away."
What a leader needs to be able to do in this environment is to help his people
understand where all this change is leading and, most importantly, how they fit
in. In doing so, as Executive Coach columnist Susan Cramm suggests in "The
Worst Job in IT," a CIO "can add meaning and context to [his employees daily]
Without doing that, without providing his or her employees with that meaning
and context, a CIO may discover that when he yells, "Charge!" and begins
dashing up Transformation Hill, no one will be dedicated to his cause and
follow him blindly.

The faces of mobile IT
By Mitch Betts, Computerworld (US)
Every help desk worker has had this nightmare call: High-powered, egotistical
executive (or lawyer or salesman) is furious that his laptop or wireless gadget
wont work. Expletives fly. He needs the information now! to close a
multimillion-dollar deal. If the deal falls through and the company doesnt hit
its quarterly numbers, its all ITs fault, he sputters.
Sigh. How did we get to this point? Obviously, corporate world has become
addicted to mobile connectivity, and the better service it gets, the more it
expects. But feeding this addiction isnt easy for the IT department. In
Computerworlds survey of 190 IT professionals, 59 percent said supporting
mobile employees is more expensive than supporting desktop users. And by far
the most difficult people to support are you guessed it white-collar road
warriors such as executives and salespeople.
But there are other mobile or remote employees who need IT support too:
blue-collar workers, telecommuters, call center agents and the wireless nomads
who, while traveling from room to room and building to building, expect to
remain connected to the corporate network the whole time. In the performed
survey, you would hear their stories (including their wish lists), as well as
the stories of the IT people who support them.
Our survey found that end users No. 1 complaint about mobile devices is the
challenge of "getting and staying connected." As columnist Mark Hall explains,
end users expect real-time data anywhere they happen to be, and its your job
to make that happen.

Shark Tank: Race condition III
By Sharky, Computerworld (US online)
This researcher does statistical analysis for a research project in a small
African country, reports a pilot fish whos in the loop. "The researcher is in
the U.S., but she gets periodic data updates from the IT guy in Africa," fish
"Getting the data from Africa can be a challenge because the net connection
frequently goes down, and he doesnt have reliable electrical power."
So when the IT guy uploads one particularly large data file and it arrives
incomplete, no one is especially surprised. Inconvenienced, yes e-mail is also
down, so the American researcher has to get up at 4:30 a.m. to telephone the
African IT guy to report the problem. But not surprised.
The IT guy tries uploading the file again. And again it fails. But this time he
notices that halfway through the upload, hes getting a file permissions error.
"Thinking about the problem, I guessed that their server has a regularly
scheduled job that periodically goes through and resets the group permissions
for the files that are on shared network drives with the Windows PCs," says
"When the job reset the file permissions, the IT guy could no longer write to
the file that he created.
"The problem was brought to the attention of the local IT folks and they
changed the IT guys group permission.
"Now everything works just fine."

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