Global CIO: Hewlett-Packard's Hurd Says Bad IT Means A Bad CEOHurd offers a startling observation about how the roots of bad IT almost always reside in the corner office, and he explains how HP attempts to address the needs of both the CEO and the CIO.
"Oh I certainly think—and particularly with our acquisition and move into the services space—we want to play a role of helping IT—I wanna make sure I'm clear—our role isn't—and it's a very fine line you touch here, David—uh, we wanna be viewed as somebody who helps IT accomplish their objectives. To the degree we assist with trying to align the business with IT, that is an asset I think we can bring.
"One of the things we actually did here, David, was we followed our own process and basically scripted not only what we did, but also the mistakes we made. We actually made a few as we went through the process. So we think we can bring a lot of value to that alignment discussion between business and IT."
And Hurd then went back yet again to reassure the CIOs in the audience that he and HP are not trying to cut them out of the discussions—for myself, I don't think he needed to repeat that point for a third time, but Hurd knows his audience quite well and so he continued:
"At the same time, I wanna make sure I'm clear to the audience: it's not like us to show up to the CEO and say, 'I got a really big idea: why don't you just give me all the IT and I'll do it for ya.' We'd be more likely to come to the CIO and the IT organization and say, 'How can we help you craft a transformation plan that will be an asset to the company?" Then he went into his discussion of bad IT having its roots in the CEO's office.
So, of all that, you need to remember Hurd's Corolloary: Bad IT = Bad CEO. And if you feel your company's IT is bad or even just sub-par, then the next time you have a performance discussion with your CEO, have a copy of Hurd's remarks handy. It probably won't help much, but it might make your CEO rethink things a little bit. And that's a lot better than nothing.
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Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.
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