Does the Auckland Transition Authority (ATA) “Get” IT?

By Murray Wills • November 11th, 2009

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Well, it doesn’t look like it!!

If the following article is correct, then it looks like some really old school thinking has crept into one of our newest and most strategic organisations.

http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/CFBB5E92DDF95D40CC25766A006D37F1

I agree with Rob O’Neill here. What on earth are they thinking?

It is inappropriate, given the strategic nature of Information Technology and Information Management in this organisation for the role not to be one of Chief Information Officer, reporting to the CEO and on the same level as the CFO. 

If  the CIO is on par with the other functional areas of ATA; it sends a message that IT and IM is important, strategic and integral to ATA functions. If ATA is structured to have an IS Manager reporting to the CFO – a clear message is sent that technology is not part of the strategy of ATA – but rather a support function subordinate to financial concerns.

In a smaller organisation or Government Agency it may be appropriate because of the number of direct reports, to have a dotted line to the CEO and a direct reporting line to the Corporate Services Manager, but in these organisations the CIO is involved in strategic decisions and  discussions, is the recognised specialist in this area and has direct access to the CEO.

In my article  “Appalling News – Cost Focus Changes CIO Reporting Lines” I make the point that “The trend of CIOs not reporting to the CEO flies in the face of a strategic, IT enabled and future focused organisation, be it a company or government agency”. I also make the point that  a “Chief Information Officer”, possesses a senior information technology and management background and experience (including strategic planning and risk management in an IT context), business background and experience. ATA may well be faced with re-specifying the role from one of IS Manager to CIO so they get the right skills and experience.

Other articles relevant to this discussion are: CIO Background – Is IT Experience Mandatory? – The answer is “yes” by the way.

The second, and one that I suspect those responsible for Governance of ATA may wish to read is: IT Governance Skills on Boards

Of course none of what I have discussed here is new. Another excellent example of a requirement for professional development in this area. 

This is something that we are very happy to undertake, and if you are a CEO, Board Member or CIO and would like to discuss this further, please contact me.

Murray

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