Ebusiness Despatches: 2002 - the year the four horsemen of the apocalypse arrived

Or should that be e-pocalypse...?

Or should that be e-pocalypse...?

Waving good-bye to 2002, Rene Carayol this month identifies the villains of the year... It has been a tough year all round. General economic woes have affected IT departments. They haven't had the budgets to keep what we loosely call 'the industry' happy. That depression has hit the companies that depend on the vendors - the consultants, contractors, PR firms and publications. Yet these are the very people I'll end the year by calling to account. Why not kick a man while he's down? It's time for my very own kangaroo court... So first off - the IT vendor or CIO. They failed to learn from the Y2K debacle, where their core competency became spending money. They ploughed headlong into the world of ebusiness and internet everything, and fell for the scaremongering about security. And carried on spending. How about adding some value to the business? How about delivery? How about transformation? Verdict: guilty as charged. Second, the consultancy game. These companies' business model is a busted flush. They should know that sending in ill-equipped and ignorant consultants on a time and materials basis doesn't work. Answer this: do they know anything about productivity, technology, my business? For the past 20 years the answer has been 'No'. Verdict: Guilty as charged. Third, the vendors. Many of them don't know how to sell. That's not to say they have forgotten how to sell - they never knew how. The decade-long bull market was a major reason for this. Ask them to explain in detail how their technology enables your business. Verdict: Guilty as charged. Last on my list - the technology media. Which industry have they been watching for the past 10 years? What gives them any credibility? It has been geeks writing about geeks. The writers need to understand the pressures of business. Technology knowledge alone doesn't cut it. In response to this criticism, you could say we are seeing some green shoots of recovery. The media is changing. But you know what? My verdict stands: guilty as charged. Where does this leave us? I am most concerned with the IT director and CIO. How can they understand how to deliver, to their people and businesses? How can they make it to the boardroom - and not just on the day they're fired? There are no training manuals for them. A good piece of advice today will be useless in a year. It isn't like being in marketing or finance, careers where conditions have stabilised. So let's not be too quick to point fingers (though I stick by my guilty verdict this year). It is still an organisation's toughest role. What I will do is two things. First of all, let it be known that the technology career sausage machine is no longer appropriate in this day and age. A successful IT boss needs more than the right qualifications, contacts and excuses to hide behind. The second thing I urge is for anyone with ambitions to seek out three men who are showing the way forward. To name names they are: Ivan Brooks, CIO at McDonalds, Martin Wyke, IS director, Debenhams, and John Yard, IT director at the Inland Revenue. These are three men who understand the challenges ahead, have the respect of their peers and are pursuing exciting transformational agendas. Finally, two more things before I sign off this last column of 2002. In the summer, when silicon.com was purchased by CNET Networks, I challenged my editors not to change http://www.silicon.com/a55085 ). I wanted them to keep the same flavour and keep on agitating. I welcome emails on how well they've done. And all that's left to say is that this is my final Ebusiness Despatches column. It's been fun but this is no good-bye. From January 2003 onwards join me for Boardroom Despatches. It'll be fun. Rene Carayol is the CEO of consultancy Voodoo and co-author of Corporate Voodoo and My Voodoo. He can be contacted at rene@carayol.com. Previous Ebusiness Despatches:
Ebusiness Despatches: Where content and distribution meet - there's only one winner
http://www.silicon.com/a56360
Ebusiness
Despatches: IT agility
http://www.silicon.com/a55867
Ebusiness
Despatches: Now VCs must hold their nerves
http://www.silicon.com/a54463
Ebusiness Despatches: Why I hate IT scaremongering
http://www.silicon.com/a54024
Ebusiness Despatches: BBC - the Business Busting Corporation
http://www.silicon.com/a51977
Ebusiness despatches: Jumping on the broadbandwagon
http://www.silicon.com/a51282
Ebusiness Despatches: Customer service is about people NOT technology
http://www.silicon.com/a50257
Ebusiness Despatches: Know your partners, know your customers, know your staff - retail lessons
http://www.silicon.com/a49880
Ebusiness Despatches: Das Boot is on the other foot
http://www.silicon.com/a49105