Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 8: The CIO needs to focus on strategy and ignore routine operations Binary Thinking: CIOs should not waste their time on the trivial matter of keeping the IT machine running. These days the issues in running IT are well understood and should be left to subordinates. If necessary a CIO can appoint a CTO to look after technology. Instead the CIO should be a business strategist and spend most of their time sitting with the CEO and the board and: talk about social media and new consumer devices, agree the budget for replacing all existing IT equipment with public cloud services and consider what questions could be answered through Big Data once the management hierarchy has been made obsolete by collaboration and gamification.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 7: Changes and projects can be delivered in an agile or waterfall way Binary Thinking: Traditionally people commissioning a change have carefully specified their requirements and then left a project team alone for months, or maybe years, to develop and deliver a capability to fulfil the requirements. This disciplined, structured approach has been largely discredited in the IT domain as the cause of many high-profile project failures. Alternatively changes can be made in an agile way which means delivering basic capabilities in days or weeks and working closely with commissioners to add further capabilities iteratively over time. These days everything should be done using an agile approach.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 6: IT is either a cost centre or provides business value Binary Thinking: If the IT department is accounted for as a cost centre then stakeholders in the enterprise will be unable to appreciate what the IT team and its services can do for the enterprise and will not be able to exploit the opportunities IT provides for adding value to the business. Only by changing the accounting treatment of the IT department can its full value be realised.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 5: IT is either internal or provided from the public cloud Binary Thinking: An organisation’s internal IT department is never involved if an organisation uses public cloud services and this makes sense as public cloud is completely self-service, self-managing and requires no commercial commitment. CIOs should make plans to move to all IT services to the public cloud and then resign. Oh, except when there are some security issues in which case no IT services should be moved to the public cloud and everything should be kept in-house.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 4: The CIO will soon be obsolete or indispensable Binary Thinking: Computing and communication technologies are becoming commodities which means that specialist IT skills and all of the management structures around them will no longer be needed. General managers can satisfy their IT needs from the consumer market place in the same way they can get their home PCs and mobile phones. Unfortunately, in the not too distant future, the performance of any organisation will depend on how they use information, other sources of competitive advantage will cease to be important and only CIOs and other IT leaders will be qualified to lead enterprises.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 3: IT is internal or outsourced Binary Thinking: Organisations can get their IT services from an internal IT department or they can dispense with their IT department and their CIO and get all of their IT services under contract from an IT outsourcer.
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 2: Control of IT can be centralised or distributed Binary Thinking: CIOs need to make a fundamental decision for their organisation. Either they will control all IT staff, assets and projects across the enterprise centrally or they will delegate everything out to local managers on a geographic and/or business-line basis. Unless a CIO chooses the centralised option they should probably resign.
When Alan Turing was developing his ideas about computing he was not constrained by the binary number system so why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking?
Why has IT management become so cursed with Binary Thinking? No. 1: There is IT and there is business Binary Thinking: Everything that exists within an organisation (strategies, policies, processes, people, teams, assets, budgets, requirements, projects etc) can have a label of “IT” or “Business”. Nothing can carry both labels. Organisations need to work hard to make sure all of the “IT” things and “business” things are aligned but merging any of these things would be a mistake. Usually “business” people prevent “IT” people from participating in “business” activities. If “business” people work with “IT” suppliers it is bound to cause problems.