CIO Boot Camp: Is Your IT department a Terminator? Sponge Bob? Colin Powell?


These are just some of the images IT directors have of their departments — or they’re what that they want to portray. At an entertaining moment during CIO Boot Camp at Interop in Las Vegas, the event’s chairman, Thornton May, asked attendees what celebrity or fictional character represented the voice of their group. Then he wanted to know: Who would you want it to be?

6 Responses to “CIO Boot Camp: Is Your IT department a Terminator? Sponge Bob? Colin Powell?”

  1. The Frustrated Systems Admin

    The problem with most IT departments today, is the lack of real management and/or direction. Most Managers and Directors take the Spongebob Square pants or Yes Man approach to IT, and treat IT departments like they are “Customer Service” departments, which they are not, especially on the Systems Admin side. An IT departments main function is to provide and support the basic and advanced infrastructures of any given company, and create an environment in which a company operates in a productive and efficient matter.

    Being a Terminator, or a Spongebob push-over does not achieve this. Treating users as if they were children, does not accomplish this either.

    A well trained, and well respected IT staff is key to any companies success, and ensures a more efficient working environment for all involved. A good balance between policy enforcement and educating users is also key to ensuring a stable and functional networking environment.

  2. I would also say that many IT departments have the Rodney Dangerfield “I get no respect” problem. When things are going fine nobody says anything. They just know you exist when the sh*t hits the fan.

  3. I disagree, vehemently, with “The Frustrated Systems Admin”. Unless your IT/IS position requires zero contact with anyone outside the hallowed-halls-of-technology, you”ld damned well better have excellent customer service skills. Otherwise you’re just another arrogant, opinionated “geek” who’ld rather interface with his hardware than people. Or perhaps I simply misunderstand your post.

  4. Good point Mike. The reality is that these are the actual opinions from the IT directors and CIOs. They definitely feel like they’re being treated like Barney or Sponge Bob. They want to change that viewpoint. I’m sure it’s not easy as much of that work requires rejiggering stereotypical viewpoints of the role of the IT department.

  5. Who are these CIOs? “Tech workers” promoted to management? MBA wunderkinds who never actually worked in IT? None of the above? From experience the image that others have of IT, and the tone that is set, comes from the top down; a manager/leader (not necessarily the same person) who sets a positive tone will probably find the department viewed in a positive light. The opposite is also true; the best tech staff personnel cannot neutralize a negative vibe established by the boss? Why? Because the boss will throw the staff under the bus in order to protect his position. With that said it is possible for some of those personnel to be viewed in a positive light; depending on their soft skills as well as their technical ability.

    • I don’t think that was the intention of the question and the response. Most of these people were actually not CIOs. They were more CIOs in training. Trying to move up to the next level and they were all discussing the way they feel perceived by the rest of the organization. If you were there talking to these people you would see how bright and talented they are. I’m sorry if this video didn’t show that. I’ve got lots more CIO Boot Camp videos coming out here on the Dice News blog. Make sure you check them out and you’ll see.