Feeds

Westpac unchiefs the information officer

Tumbril calls for the PHB

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

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
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?