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There's been a lot of talk over the last week around Burton group's report on SOA adoption. Most recently I read Dave Linthicum's Should you Fire your CIO blog entry and I totally agree. Not that I mean you should fire your CIO, but there are definitely different styles of CIO's - and if you have the wrong kind maybe you need a change.
What I find most valuable about the Burton report is that, unlike many of the other recent SOA surveys, it doesn't rely on self evaluation. After all, if I'm asked whether I'm ugly and smell bad, my answer would be "no" (whether it's accurate or not) - this is what people smarter than me would call "cognitive dissonance". So self evaluation isn't a very reliable way to measure SOA success.
That said, back to the topic of CIOs. There's a pattern I've seen: the "change and go" CIO. Certain CIOs make their living coming into an organization to shake it up, change it, get it going... and then they leave onto the next company that needs their help. In a number of cases, I've seen SOA infrastructure initiatives kick started by a "change and go" CIO.
Why does this work? These CIOs only go to companies that recognize they need to change - so you've got a fundamental ingredient for success: a mandate for change, driven from the top - and someone to make that change happen, with no desire to carry sentimental baggage forward if it doesn't make sense. Now, I don't have data to support this, but I'd hazard to guess that more than a few of the (small number) of success cases that Burton found were a result of one of these "change and go" CIOs.
If your organization is looking for a change, it may make sense to look for one of these unique breeds of CIOs. The one thing you'll want to do, however, is interview the CIOs that came after the "change and go" CIO to make sure that they didn't achieve their short term results at the expense of long term pain (which only the next CIO will be able to tell you!).
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