Leader: CIOs should make more mistakes

No point sitting back and polishing the hardware

No point sitting back and polishing the hardware

A new report from Accenture paints a woeful picture of today's CIO as a wretched character unwilling to take risks and happier acting as a caretaker for ancient IT systems than going out on a limb and building something new.

Accenture warns that companies are reluctant to invest in technology because IT departments have a woeful track record on delivery, with less than one in three projects ending successfully and the average cost overrun for projects coming in at a massive 56 per cent.

As the report somewhat archly adds: "Clearly there is a gap in performance standards between what is expected of enterprises as a whole, and what is expected of IT organisations."

No wonder the CFO is so unwilling to hand over the cash when IT bosses want to buy some new systems, if this is what the rest of the world thinks of IT people.

The message of the research is clear - IT must start taking risks.

Polishing old machines because that is safer than trying out new things is not the way to impress your peers or the board - or to have fun.

There's nothing wrong with failing, if you learn something. After all, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aren't taken seriously until they've had a couple of ventures collapse around their ears - as long as they get up and start hustling again.

If IT is going to prove how important it can be to the business, CIOs have to boost their credibility. And though they may feel the best way to do this is to play it safe, what they really need is to show they're not afraid to experiment and embrace new technologies. Plenty of IT bosses are willing to give it a go, as shown by the case studies silicon.com has been gathering recently. But, if Accenture is to be believed, plenty are not.

IT can be the most exciting and fast moving industry to work in, with innovations changing the way we do business on an almost daily basis.

So if you aren't trying out RFID or desktop Linux or whatever other great new thing that can help your organisation do business faster, cheaper or just better, then are you really doing the best you can?

Isn't the only failure not to try?