CIOs and the Politics of Technology

For CIOs, technology is the easy part. What is more challenging and sometimes more important is the politics. In an article for Computerworld, Thorton May elaborates on the politics of technology.

House of Memory Cards

James Dallas, a former CIO and author, makes the bold claim that for those who do not like the politics, they should “get out of the game.” Politics are integrated into what a CIO does, and they are a necessary evil. Politics help organizations and CIOs determine how much money they are going to spend on technology, and precisely what technology they will invest in.

CIOs must seek opportunities, make decisions, and act upon them, which are all essences of the dreaded politics. According to May, the CIO is “the most political of C-level positions.” This is because the CIO has the added challenge of having to please a multitude of people, and the best way to do this is through politics. May also suggests that the best way to get good at politics is to be mentored by a CIO who is good at politics. The best mentors are the ones who are not afraid to tell you the difficult truths.

Within an organization, it is fairly common to see that different departments do not interact with one another often, which is most likely because they all have differing objectives. Effective politics takes this into account and creates common interests so the message can be made.

Technology ignorance is a major hurdle in the creation of value. Interestingly, this political adversity is rooted in the idea that there is little incentive to learn about technology. CIOs that create this incentive for their organization will make great strides in overcoming this obstacle.

The IT decision space is sacred and helps to produce the best quality decisions possible. However, if the space does not have the necessary information, the processes are not mapped out, or the topic of “how you decided to decide” is not discussed, there is a problem.

You can read the original article here:

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