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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars A reference work for CIOs, solidly crafted., 16 Dec. 2009
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This review is from: Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value (Gartner) (Hardcover)
Business IT is half a century old - 2009 is the 50th anniversary of the software programming language COBOL. If it were easy to fully integrate the rapidly changing value dynamics of IT into the heart of our business organisations, we would have discovered how to do it years ago. However, the subtle management process, structure and culture problems have been hard to diagnose and it has taken several generations of IT leaders to gradually uncover and refine the repeatable formula for true success. The dysfunctional disconnect between IT and other parts of the business, is an ever increasing performance drain, but there is a way out of the trap.

This book nails the essential formula. It condenses the wisdom of many multi-year CIO journeys and boils the key learning down to a deceptively simple prescription.
Don't expect grand theories, technology quick fixes or a magical organisation chart answer. This is a practical book about substantive management change for people who really must make it happen in complex organisations. Hunter and Westerman offer a four stage value path that brings simple penetrating clarity - shining a light on the root causes of business / IT misunderstanding and mistrust.

If you are a CIO, or you have one reporting to you - this book is a rock. Seasoned managers will find they have already discovered some of the key jigsaw pieces though their own experience. For them the book offers a frame and the remaining parts of the puzzle, and delivers it in crystal clarity. For those who are new, the work provides a huge head-start that does not require prior knowledge or experience.

The authors are both highly experienced writers and it shows. Let's face it, IT management isn't a crime thriller genre - but their experience and hard work makes this a smooth and effortless read, all the way through. The reader is rewarded with more lessons, cases and frameworks as the book proceeds. The `four sources' model is probably worth the cover price on its own.

Maintaining a disciplined approach to their writing, Hunter and Westerman have not allowed themselves to wander off into contemporary themes like the impact of consumerization or social technologies, just to be fashionable. Some may miss an analysis of how those trends affect IT management, however most will just be very grateful the authors stuck to job one. At last here's a clear procedural approach a leader can use to advance the IT function and become an equal member of the business leadship team.

Reviewer: Mark Raskino co author of Mastering the Hype Cycle: How to Choose the Right Innovation at the Right Time, HBSP 2008
[Disclosure: This reviewer works at Gartner with one of the authors.]
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Location: UK

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