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Unqualified IT managers

By wordworker ·
Recently I was in a meeting with a vendor, a company who licenses software to one of my healthcare clients, and I couldn't believe my ears. The Chief Technology Officer of this high company (with >$500 million annual sales) didn't know what VMware was, and had never heard of Citrix.

Is it just me, or is there a really bad trend in corporate America to promote "business" people to high-level management positions within IT? I mean, how can any self-respecting person function in a CTO position with so little knowledge of the IT world?

No wonder there aren't any career paths for REAL technology professionals -- airheads are being promoted instead of gearheads.

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Techies Preferred But Not Required

by dpatters In reply to Unqualified IT managers

Would you take your car to a service center where the manager didn't know the difference between engine oil and transmission oil? Do you expect the store manager at K-Mart to know how things are done within the store? Only a fool appoints a gatekeeper who doesn't know which side of the gate things belong.

Ideally, promote a techie who understands the business side. If no such person, promote a business person who has a keen interest in the technical side, and is well respected by the geeks. Things will be tough enough for the new IT manager, even with respect.

I fear there has been so much talk about the need for IT to understand and be involved from the business side that CEOs may be inclined to "make it happen" by putting a business person in the CIO slot. The current CIO may be contributing to this inclination by trying to impress his boss with his techno-speak which only confirms just how impossible these IT people are to deal with.

My advice for techies who don't want to find a non-techie for their boss: think of yourself as a business person first, and a geek second. If everyone on your IT staff thinks that way, there will always be a candidate for promotion.

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Position hasn't solidified yet.

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Techies Preferred But Not ...

The trend toward CIO / CTO seems to have come about because the directors felt at least one of there close circle should have an inkling of this technology stuff as it seems to be quite important. His/her two most important responsibilities as far as I'm concerned is
1) Stopping some vendor who happens to be a member of the MD's club selling a total platform change to him.
2) Re-wording IT strategy in business speak.

As always when dealing with bean counters it's the intangibles that cause problems.

Anybody think we got through Y2K reasonably successfully because the board understood the technical issues ?. No they read a financial news report and then ran around making sure every body else in the company knew it was an issue.

P.S. I know vaguely know what VMware is but I've never in 20+ years worked in an environment where it was used, and only for one year where citrix was, so maybe the fella's lack of knowledge is n't such a surprise after all.

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Also when the "Bean Counters" look at the hardware

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Position hasn't solidifie ...

They only take into consideration the actual boxes and other items and never place a value on the DATA stored on the HDD's. To them an unseen commodity is an unimportant item but without it the company can not continue to function.

In every case that I've dealt with the stored DATA is far more valuable than any of the hardware that the accountants place so much value upon.

Col

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Data as an asset, need a depreciation rate then

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Also when the "Bean Count ...

Hardware fun usually comes from purchasing in my experience, when they agree to a small unimportant change to the spec. Once I ended up with the correct boxes but with small business server on them because the vendor was doing a deal and it's just the same as the full version. You'd have thought the fact it was free was a bit of clue, technically astute or not.

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Tony Sorry but I find that funny

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Data as an asset, need a ...

SBS on every box that would prove interesting to setup wouldn't it?

Or even better a 6 month trial version on each box.

Sorry but I just can not stop laughing it's so funny particuarly as I didn't have to deal with it!

But with a Government project about 20 years ago now I suggested running a dedicated Fiber Optic cable around AU for the various departments along with the Government owner Telco roll out. It would have only cost them the relatively small amount for the cable. Of course this was knocked on the head against my objections about the Telco stealing bandwidth that wasn't being used initially and when required would not be available. Well 15 years latter one guess what happened and being typical Bureaucrat's they have spent the next 5 years auguring how to roll out the new cable AU wide. What was originally going to cost only a few million $ is now up to several Billion and the best part is the Bureaucrats want to lay it beside the existing cable to save the cost of new surveys. Boy am I glad I stopped doing any Government work 19 years ago.

But I still hear tales of woe from the guys who are still there and we have a good laugh about just how the Bureaucrats work and waste billions in an attempt to save a few $.

Col

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I agree!!

by daveinohio2 In reply to Unqualified IT managers

I think that IT managers should have a strong background in Computer Technology. I think just putting a regular business person in the role of IT Mgr. is like asking Ray Charles to teach Driver's Education!!!

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I agree!!

by daveinohio2 In reply to Unqualified IT managers

I think that IT managers should have a strong background in Computer Technology. I think just putting a regular business person in the role of IT Mgr. is like asking Ray Charles to teach Driver's Education!!! Both are really briliant ideas....NOT!!!

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I agree!!

by daveinohio2 In reply to Unqualified IT managers

I think that IT managers should have a strong background in Computer Technology. I think just putting a regular business person in the role of IT Mgr. is like asking Ray Charles to teach Driver's Education!!! Both are really brilliant ideas....NOT!!!

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Techs vs Non-Techs

by mlanphea In reply to Unqualified IT managers

My first answer is - Of course non-techs should not be the CIO/CTO. If they are promoted/hired to that position, they need to get educated. It may be understandable (to some companies) to hire business managers to tech positions...because they want to have someone there who understands their business. But, they better be sure that that person also understands tech, or they may pay a higher price than they can afford for the mistakes that will occur. It's like hiring someone who isn't an attorney to manage attornies. It could work, but they better learn the language, sooner rather than later.

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While I agree about Business acumen...

by Chrystoph In reply to Unqualified IT managers

I find that those of you who argue that a CTO (the article specifies) does not need technical acumen is a flawed mentality.

This person, when effective, either has to be "the geek" for the "C" staff or has to bring a geek to meetings where (s)he is on stage.

I do believe that bridging the gap between the technical and non-technical staff is this person's job, but it cannot effectively be done without an understanding of, at least, the underlying principles.

Somewhere in the middle of the extremes being argued....

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