Unemployed CIO (IT Manager)? – I can see a great future ahead of you...

by Marco Tapia

in it-management,

July 20, 2009

Unemployed CIO (IT Manager)? – I can see a great future ahead of you…

Top skills that CIOs/IT Managers need to acquire.

There is no secret that right now that CIO’s employment opportunities are in very short supply. In Sydney, there was ONE CIO job advertised in June-July 09 and NONE for IT Managers. Companies have taken the hard line to retrench a huge number of CIOs and make the position either redundant (for a while), moved a junior (cheaper) person to the role or give the role to another manager within the organisation.

Most of the “experts” are saying that things are going to get better from here on. According to Westpac, confidence levels (Consumer and Business) are improving. Savanth Sebastian – Economist for Commsec on the Market Bulletin of 17th July 2009, commenting in the slide in wealth in Australia (13% over the past year) said, “The bottom line is the slide in wealth over”.

To me this opens a huge number of opportunities to unemployed CIOs/IT Managers. There is a lag of some six months before CIO employment begins to pick up again…. hence great time to prepare for it. As a former CIO of large corporations (for more than 20 years) and now on the other side of the fence (running an IT services company - PicNet ), the opportunities will not be in the traditional model of CIOs/IT Managers i.e. building empires (see my previous blog article). Nor the opportunities will be in knowing all the technical bits and bytes.

To me, even though I plead guilty of blowing my own trumpet – the opportunities will be huge for those who:

  • Understand how to generate revenue by using IT
  • Understand how to manage vendors who can deliver those solutions quickly enough to bring those revenues effectively and promptly

I don’t mind been guilty of blowing my own trumpet. I do so because I know, by fact, that the trend is no longer for the traditional CIO/IT Manager to do what they have done always – build empires, play with technology and spend the company’s money in expensive toys. My company is very successful… and it is so because of the great vision of some CIOs that have already realised that their future is not to spend the company’s money but to help them to generate money.

The war is over – Microsoft has won it…or maybe IBM. Or maybe Oracle – who cares!!!. If you work for a corporation the chances are that you are using some or all of these technologies. Move on now. Learn how to make money with them and not how to spend it any more.

So, whilst unemployed, why not to learn the two skills you will need to succeed:

  1. How to help your company to make money
  2. How to manage vendors

Some additional related skills that could come handy are:

  • Technology Contracts
  • Commercial law
  • Marketing skills
  • How to fire people fairly
  • How to read a P&L Statement and a Balance Sheet (see if you could make your IT department to contribute to the income sections of the P&L and not just to the expenses one).
  • Relationship management
  • Project portfolio management based on results not on allocation of people

In my view, although I recognise that been unemployed is hard, it could represent an opportunity to make some serious changes in your career and approach to IT Management. Good luck.