Forgetting the Basics

Sometimes in our zeal to explore the merits of information technology, we get hung up on the fancy new tools that drive a company’s business.

And although these new applications are and should be a CIO’s priority, the reality is that IS staffers spend most of their time dealing with basic support

and maintenance issues.

How true this can be recently came to light after problems experienced by the Royal Bank, CIBC and the TD Bank. (See story, p. 18.)

Referred to rather euphemistically as “”computer glitches,”” the reality is that overall confidence in our information systems had been seriously compromised. That it became the headline story on all nightly news broadcasts and major newspapers should tell us how the public feels about this issue.

And if it happened at Canadian banks, who are usually paragons of IT’s best practices, it means it can happen to anyone.

While everybody is preaching the IT for-competitive-advantage doctrine, maybe more attention must be paid to the topic of infrastructure. This includes executives who probably would have recoiled in their chairs and rolled their eyes at the mere mention of the word.

Evidently, infrastructure is a multi-faceted topic. Else-where in this issue, we explore the IP telephony phenomenon, in an article that tells us this new technology is rationalized not so much by the money it saves as by the new applications it can enable. (See story, p. 22.)

When was the last time you heard of a new investment in technology justified by its features rather than by cost-savings?

Our other feature on page 14 acknowledges the CIO’s plate continues to be full but help could be on the way in the form of an architect planner. And in CIO’s Corner, we explore how CIOs have gone from masters of their own corporate domain to executive now also accountable for bottom-line performance. (See p. 34.)

A final note: If you happen to be in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 6, you may want to join us for the second in our series of executive-level breakfast roundtables.

The topic is outsourcing and the only people you’ll hear from are your peers and an expert from our partner Compass Management Consultants. We look forward to seeing you there.

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