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Sun 1 Feb 2009 04:00 AM

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The reality is obvious

Secret CIO whips out his Mont Blanc to save the day.

With a single stroke of my pen, I saved our company four million dollars last month (and they say I don't do anything all day!)

While companies across the region are desperately trying to avoid shedding staff, I've managed to prevent losing a single one of my ungrateful lot. Not that they are going to throw me a birthday party or anything anytime soon.

Nor did I do any creative ‘shuffling' of our budgetary figures to make it seem like we did more with less - though the temptation was nigh-on irresistible. Far too much so for some, as recent events in India have illustrated.

I would like to digress for a moment here to announce that I will poke my pointiest finger in the eye of the next vendor who marches into my office and tries to tell me with a straight face that their miracle product/service/prayer can make me "do more with less."

Does something that obvious really have to be stated? Doesn't everybody want to save money while getting more bang for the buck? Can anyone recall the last time they went somewhere looking for a product that performed worse than the competition and costing significantly more? (I do - it's called shopping for German cars with my enormous bonus).

As CIO, it goes without saying that my job is to improve efficiency and productivity while saving the company money. Any one who walks in my office with just that idea on the plate isn't going to get very far with convincing me to plump for their solution.

What I tell them - and you - is that in reality, my job actually consists of signing bits of paper with very complicated bits of writing on them. These John Hancocks will commit my enterprise to huge, open-ended IT projects with a nebulous return on investment and as much investment in reassuringly-expensive infrastructure as humanly possible.

Once I sign and the salesman/woman/other leaves with a shiny grin on his/her/it's face, my job becomes even easier. I merely have to ‘oversee' projects for the next 12 to 48 months, which principally involves asking the principals on each initiative the following four words: Is it done yet?

After they inevitably reply in the negative, I then proceed to give them the mother of all dressing-downs and hurl them from my office with instructions to not come back unless they achieve at least 50% completion.

They'll never be able to, not in the timeframe I give them. It has nothing to do with their competence and everything to do with the fact that I remove every third page from the project master document. By the time they discover the missing pages, at least three years have passed and I can now push for funding to upgrade our half-built, badly designed systems.

The best part about this whole farce of an operation is that vendors love me to bits for throwing greats gobs of business their way. When I eventually resign, they'll be falling over themselves to give me a lucrative seat on one of their boards.

Oh wait - I am supposed to tell you how I saved four million. Sorry, got sidetracked there.

Well, it was easy - I cancelled or put on hold every major and minor project we had going. Over 35, as a matter of fact. Immediate savings, kudos from management - and one minor side-effect. We (meaning I) now have 300 IT staff with nothing much to do for the rest of the year. That includes people who might very well start looking to me for guidance on how to optimise deficiencies within our existing (read: shambolic) infrastructure.

Sorry, what was I saying about no redundancies again?

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