As I mentioned in my last post I got a chance to meet with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. He started the meeting asking what we wanted to hear. The 5 CIOs went around the table asking for information on various technical topics. The last CIO asked Steve Ballmer what advice he would give to CIOs. I wish I would have asked that question.
Ballmer had a number of suggestions, but two stuck with me as being most enlightening.
Firstly, he said that CEOs are frustrated that they have invested so much moneyin IT yet they have little additional insight into their business. He hears this often. He did not want to characterize this as business intelligence or push any technical solution. He shared that even Microsoft with all of their IT expertise does not have data about their total headcount – a revelation that gave me a sense of relief. He also said that he has a rule for his CFO, never give him data in a format that he cannot manipulate, preferably it would be a pivot table.
Ballmer also suggested that the future of enterprise IT can be found in the consumer arena today. This was the case with cloud computing and is likely to be the case in such areas as social networking. As IT professionals we should keep an eye on that space. It is our crystal ball. I loved that insight.