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The Magic Cure or the Poisonous Alphabet Soup? April 10, 2010

Posted by wrivkin in Enterprise Architecture & Business Transformation, General Creative Thinking.
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This post is the reaction to the article by C. Bernstein in “Baseline” magazine (*) , where the author, in her turn, reviews the study: “IT Governance and Control: Making Sense of Standards, Guidelines and Frameworks,” which was prepared for the Society for Information Management by Sue Conger, an associate professor and director of IT and IT service management at the University of Dallas, and Ulrike Schultze, an associate professor at Southern Methodist University.” “It shows – the author of the paper writes – considerable overlap among the frameworks, even though they emphasize different aspects of IT processes and use different vocabulary and conceptual schemes.” The author and the study are talking about CMMI, COBIT, ISO 20000 and ITIL frameworks.

SIM’s Advanced Practices Council report, which is based on five case studies and uses a cross-referencing tool for mapping the frameworks, shows that IT organizations use process frameworks for different reasons…” says the article. Without any clue for the real purpose of this ‘soup’, add I. Why? Because nobody, including the ‘cooks’ seemingly have this clue.

Why?! Anybody, at least somewhat familiar with those “alphabet soup” frameworks knows that their primary goal is to describe IT processes for non-IT, technologically-illiterate managers. They are trying to describe IT as a ‘black box’, considering what is going on there as some abstract and agnostic ‘processes’. So what, ask you: isn’t you yourself a proponent of abstraction? Yes, say I, but on the specific abstraction level. A framework should be abstract, where it should be abstract, specific, where it should be specific, and its author(s) should have knowledge to differ the former from the latter.

Moreover, there are different levels of abstraction itself: philosophic abstraction – scientific abstraction – framework abstraction – framework layer abstraction. To retain the same level of abstraction throughout the whole framework means really describe or resolve nothing. This is why this CMMICOBITISO20000ITIL framework turned into pure bureaucratic a*s covering, along with their architectural sister FEAFDODAFTOGAFZEAF.
Exact knowledge, corresponding to the level of a framework: this is the recipe, this is the cure.
So, do not try a soup before being knowledgeably convinced that it is good for you.
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*C. Bernstein. (2009) The Alphabet Soup of Process Frameworks , Baseline, Issue 99;
http://www.baselinemag.com/c/a/IT-Management/The-Alphabet-Soup-of-Process-Frameworks-680767

Will There Be a Next Generation of Enterprise IT Leaders? April 5, 2010

Posted by wrivkin in Enterprise Architecture & Business Transformation, General Creative Thinking.
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A year ago I blogged about the ‘CIO Insight’ magazine’s editor Brian Wilson’s worrying about “Disappearing CIO”, and how CFO often replacing them to just cut off IT’s cost by any means.

A year has passed, and recently I have participated in the discussion at LinkedIn.com: ‘Will the CIO Lose the C?’, co-authored with John Sviokla, who wrote:

“There is some disturbing new data for the role of the CIO. Thomas Wailgum of CIO.com says, “Given the… warning signs, it’s easy to speculate that the CIO’s role and the department’s sovereign power might be slip-sliding away.” Half of our Diamond Digital IQ Survey respondents said that more than 30% of the dollars spent on IT is done outside of IT. Power in any organization usually follows those who can create new revenue and value, but our survey shows that 75% of the CIO’s innovation role is internally facing”

I have answered to this discussion:
“Yep, they will, but only if, … If they and their boss CEO, and their peers CXOs will not acquire some open mind, common sense, and, most importantly, the exact knowledge of what does it mean to be responsible for the Enterprise Digital Information Processing (DIP).
Let us ask ourselves: Why is it CIO, not CTO is in danger? We all know that technology per se is being more and more commoditized, quickly going into Cloud? On the other hand, the volume and complexity of INFORMATION to be processed by an Enterprise is growing almost exponentially. And so is the value and the criticality of the effective and efficient processing of this information. And the role of the guy, who is responsible for this crucial element of the Enterprise Business Model is … right, being diminished more and more !? It is utmost logical.
Why?! The answer is very simple and pitiful: Because all these CXOs, including CIO, have no idea how to process this information effectively and/or efficiently in the case of the modern, extremely complex Enterprise. This is why, just because they do not know better, these idiots (sorry, didn’t you know that CXOs could be idiots like everyone else? Yes, they are mere mortal) turn IT into a cost center and let Finance guys to kill it by blindly cutting the costs without any idea, whether what they are cutting bring revenue or competitive advantage, or not. Why? Because they do not know how to identify that.
Is there somebody, who knows? Yes, some people do? One example is myself. So, good riddance from IT, and ahead to Cloud we go”.

Then, I had considered the issue more or less clear. However, a couple of days ago, I read in the freshest issue of the ‘CIO Insight’ magazine (a year after the aforementioned article (!), another curiose one: ‘Building the Next Generation of IT Leaders ”, with such a motto:
“Organizational politics, patience and pragmatism all play key roles in helping CIOs to develop next-generation IT executives” (?! W.R.)

It is not a surprise that with such a level of expertise, and simple sanity of its authors, the magazine now is published once in a quarter. It is a surprise that it is published at all!
What CIOs? The ‘disappearing’ ones? What ‘next generation’ when it is evident that without any precise knowledge and expertise about their profession, replaced by “organizational politics, patience and pragmatism”, these poor people will never stay a chance to preside over non-yet-existing in-house Enterprise IT, which migrates to Cloud long before their generation will have an opportunity to have any job in this in-house Enterprise IT, let alone the mythical then role of CIO?

They reject even notion of knowledge, they contradict to each other, not reading or ignoring each other’s articles. Once a week, once a month, once a quarter, then ’neverrmorre’ – the periodic for morons is disappearing with morons themselves.

I now call them “CIO-Outside”. Ziff Davis, Brian Watson, Steve Weitzner. Remember their names. It is them, their ignorance and arrogance, who killed any chance for in-house IT. Well, good riddance. The picture of T. Hoffmann looking for another job warms my heart.

Talleyrand has once said about French aristocracy: “They have forgotten nothing and learned nothing .” Well, the majority of our IT aristocracy has nothing to forget, for they always knew nada, and they have now neither time nor ability to learn anything.