Apple

Field guide to interpreting CIO speak

Looking for a universal translator to interpret and understand your organization's CIO? You're not alone. Use this handy chart as a field guide to communicate more effectively with your CIO.

This is a guest post from Michael Krigsman of TechRepublic's sister site ZDNet. You can follow Michael on his ZDNet blog IT Project Failures, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Do you need a universal translator to interpret and understand your organization's CIO? Well, you're not alone. Fortunately, blogger Thomas Wailgum comes to our rescue with a post explaining key CIO phrases.

I added quick reference categories to Thomas' list and formatted it for convenient reading. Use this handy chart as a field guide to communicate more effectively with the CIO in your life.

One little note: CIOs are known to be a bit...shall we say, prickly, at times. Therefore, in the interest of politeness, and also not being fired, I suggest keeping this chart under wraps.

As a small mea culpa, I'll share the words of Twitter user Mark O'Neill, who said to me, "I sentence you to be taken from this place and made a CIO. May God have mercy on your soul."

  What the CIO says What the CIO means
iPhones We think iPhones for our workforce – even though they are more expensive than the smartphone we have standardized on – might be something for us in the future. We'll roll out iPhones when monkeys fly out of my butt.
Relations with the CEO The CEO and I have a great relationship. I can go into his office any time and talk about what's going on in IT and how we can better meet the needs of the business. We found Terabytes of porn on his PC, and as long as he's in charge, I've got a job.
Social media I'm currently talking with our executive board, legal team and CMO about the trade-offs of letting employees use social media at work. My 13-year-old daughter is talking me through what Facebook is.
Recessionary spending Despite the recession, innovation is still a key function in our IT department. My budget just got cut by 30 percent, I had to lay off 60 people, we canceled 10 core IT projects—innovation?! How 'bout just keeping the lights on?!
Vendor relationships With our core enterprise vendors, we feel like we have a true partnership, with lots of good communication. We despise them and beat them up on pricing every chance we get.
Security I'm not sure how our customer database could have been compromised. We had all the relevant security controls in place. I'm shocked we've been able to remain 'breach free' this long.
Responsiveness E-mail that to me. I'll take a look and get back to you ASAP. Send it to my e-mail address, my secretary will print it out for me, highlight the important parts in neon yellow marker, then I'll dictate my response back to her, she'll type it into my e-mail account and send it to you next week.
Open source We're very interested in how open-source technologies can help us reduce our overall vendor spend. Are you out of your freakin' mind? Open source?! You've got to be kidding, right? Never!
IT / Business alignment We're always working on the challenges of business-IT alignment. Everyone hates me and my staff.

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