What are the Rules?

 Posted by on Jul 24, 2007  Add comments
Jul 242007

Cutter Fellow Steve Andriole has stirred up a storm of controversy with his latest Business Technology Trends E-Mail Advisor! What’s your take on his 10 rules?

I’ve posted the Advisor below. Do you agree with Steve? Do you disagree? Let us know what you think and what your rules would be!

10 New Rules

Here are 10 rules I’d like to propose we all follow, starting immediately:

  1. CIOs should come from the business, not the technology ranks: technology-rooted CIOs will never really understand the importance of business as the technology driver. When prospective CIOs start talking about network latency and virtualization, it’s time to get the hook out; go with the professional talking about up-selling and cross-selling every time.
  2. Business technology professionals should be grown in business technology farms, the way we grow shrimp, salmon, and lobster. These pros, like the fish, will be tastier and freer of the toxins they could have picked up in data centers (which are known disease breeders).
  3. Vendors are designed to be squeezed. Can anyone justify the margins that software or services vendors get? Please, if someone’s going to get 50+% margins on their products and services, they deserve to have someone hold them upside down and shake the cash out of their pockets.
  4. Software is designed to be rented. Who — in 2007 — in their right mind would embark on a five-year, $500-million implementation project? Only crack addicts would smoke this story. Even Microsoft, the mother of all enterprise software vendors, gets this.
  5. Get over the lack of privacy. It’s been gone for years and most Americans would sell their personal data for a $50 a year, so long as you promised them a free Diet Coke. The fact is that privacy — like everything else in the world — is for sale at the right price.
  6. Hardware, software, and services contract risk should be shared. What professionals (besides lawyers) can screw up and still be paid? The rule from now on is that performance should predict payment: no performance, no money.
  7. Digital security is adequate. Yes, data will be stolen and transactions hacked, but largely the Web is secure enough to support all kinds of business-to-business and business-to-consumer transaction processing.
  8. Colleges and universities need to revamp their business technology degree programs from the ground up — moving them at least to the late 20th century. This would include rethinking degree programs in computer science, computer engineering, and management information systems, among other programs that deal with digital technology and how it supports business models and processes. The new rule is simple: if it’s not relevant, it’s not part of the curriculum.
  9. By 2010, the Wintel conspiracy will officially end and only thin clients will be permitted in 30 of the 50 US states. The last 20 states must ban fat clients and bloatware no later than 2015.
  10. Meritocracies will replace consensus-by-brothers-in-law / cronies / ex-girlfriends / ex-boyfriends / idiot sons and daughters / golf-buddies — at least in this (if not a parallel) universe.

Cindy Swain

Cindy is Cutter Consortium's Managing Editor. She works with Cutter's Fellows and Senior Consultants to secure Cutter's research content and oversees Cutter's quantitative survey efforts.


  6 Responses to “What are the Rules?”

  1. avatar

    If Steve’s ten points were posted to Slashdot, they would immediately be moderated as extreme “Troll”. In other words, opinions painstakingly crafted to stir up controversy or even “full and frank discussions” (i.e. open warfare). I have a few brief comments on some of his points:

    1. At some point in every organization, technical experts must communicate with business people. Sadly, there are very few people who double up as both. I can’t think of any better candidate than the CIO to make the attempt.

    5. Steve can do without privacy if he wishes. He is right to say that everything has a price, but the price of my privacy is well over $50. Bids are welcome, but don’t hold your breath.

    10. If I had my way, anyone who prates about “merit” and “meritocracy” would be slapped with a wet haddock. We can’t even define or measure intelligence; so how the hell are we supposed to measure “merit”? Our political leaders are chosen on merit, in the sense that they are better at getting chosen than anyone else. Tautology, anyone? And what merit do you think business leaders, or bankers, or media magnates need? At least we do know an excellent software engineer when we see one.

  2. avatar

    Steve’s first point may be a bit harsh. I do think that CIO’s need to have a business orientation. That orientation can come from a business background (providing they understand how to use technology). They can also bring aboard a Business Architect (or leverge their aenterprise architecture team to drive IT using a strong focus on business architecture) or he himself could have been a business architect.

  3. Tom Welsh beat me to the punch in his opening. Steve IS a ‘troll’. At least with this list. What crap!

    As for Item #5. Why doesn’t Steve give us his personal address, phone number, SSN, annual salary and how much he gets from Cutter. I’d give him $50 to post that information.

    I didn’t think so…

  4. Privacy: Badly Roughed Up But Still Alive and Kicking…

    When I read Steve Andriole’s recent post (via Cindy Swain), What Are the Rules, I looked at the calendar…no, this was not April 1st.
    What a thought-provoking post!
    Yes, as some of the comments to Steve’s post indicate, there are defin…

  5. avatar

    Wow … what reactions …

    Look, technology is not “technology” anymore … it’s business … while Nick Carr got it half wrong — which means he was half right — there’s an operational versus strategic separation going on that will see CIOs becoming either Chief Infrastructure Officers or Chief (Business) Intelligence Officers …

    Regarding privacy, you must be kidding … the government, retail companies, insurance companies and the financial institutions with which we do business all have data about who we are, where we live (and roam), what we buy, who we owe, etc., etc., etc. There’s already way too much data about all of us “out there” for sale … you don;t want to know how many cameras follow us around all day …


    You left out the Diet Coke. That would have closed the deal …

    Blog on …

  6. avatar

    The meritocracy point is really a simple one. Wouldn’t it be great if performance (versus relationships) defined reward? The metrics are out there. Yes, it’s relatively easier to assess the performance of programmers than some C-level executives. Politicians can be easily judged by merit: little things like wars, deficits, healthcare, the environment — not too hard. When performance became decentralized via telecommuting some years ago, performance metrics became more objective. Asynchronous collaboration requires different performance metrics. It’s easier to stand out in such worlds (instead of knowing which jokes to laugh at during a meeting with the boss).

    Seems that rules 1, 5 and 10 are the ones getting the most attention … what about the other rules?

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