Feeds

Westpac unchiefs the information officer

Tumbril calls for the PHB

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Comment In a move that will send a thousand chills running down a thousand spines, the Australian bank Westpac has sent the janitor down the hall to the office marked “CIO” with a screwdriver and removed the brass plate.

In a management restructure announced yesterday, the CIO job ceased to be: in essence, the PHB* has been metaphorically taken out to the back paddock for a quiet bullet and an unmarked grave.

Instead, the role has been rolled up into a new creature called “group services” that has shocked the world of senior IT executives by equating the CIO with such mundane stuff as banking operations, property services and legal services. And, horror of horrors, IT is merely a line-of-reporting to the new COO at Westpac, John Arthur.

It had to happen.

The pumping of the CIO role has a twenty-year history, with vendors and analysts as its cheerleaders. Neither group was without self-interest: everybody gets a smoother path to the sale if they’re pitching to someone with “chief” at the beginning of the job title.

That marker of status and spending power saw the usual suspects then agitate for other tech posts to get the coveted C in front of their title (for example, Chief Security Officer).

However, the strategy only works if the CEO sees the payoff by way of better IT ops, lower costs, better customer satisfaction – anything at all really. The reality has been that costs have escalated throughout the industry and, in spite of glowing reports of most big-corporate IT strategies in the media, there are too many overdue projects, flaky systems, and high-profile security breaches.

Add to this the regular clamour that demands a rework of basic systems to adopt today’s fashion or fad, and IT begins to look, from the outside, like a vast game of nest-feathering and back-scratching.

From that point of view, demoting IT to answer to the COO might even look like good strategy: it will face a much more demanding and skeptical decision-maker, and will need to demonstrate success to justify its demands - in the face of competition from the rest of the COO's brief.

I’ll bet the world’s shuddering at Gail Kelley’s decision. It’s like she’s just told Sir Humprey Appleby that the Department of Administrative Affairs has to show a profit or be dismantled: civilization will fall.

Thankfully, in the ruins there will still be the BOFH actually keeping things running … ®

*PHB: Pointy-Haired Boss, with acknowledgement to Dilbert. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.