Are we filling our Firms with too many Specialists, and not enough clever Generalists?

“What questions should a CFO ask the CIO?”

This arose in a LinkedIn CFO forum and has instigated a healthy discussion, most of which shared a common thread around IT resource management, privacy, security and risks of hardware failure.  It is very clear to me these aren’t the only things that are critical.
The CIO role is floundering, it should not only manage hardware and related software platforms as is currently the case in many organisations; even at the more mature end where the CIO may also be actively using data management and data warehousing systems….
However, the “I” in CIO is for “Information” and providing information is neither:

a) the process of amassing data, nor
b) providing platforms for communication & archiving

Knowledge is useful information, gleaned from the available data.
Knowledge comes when someone savvy is able to collect, sort through and analyse the information in a significant way – not just using an off-the-shelf program to slice and dice the data and spit out meaningless reports.
It is not the DATA the CIO is in charge of that is critical to good decision making; it is the ability to make that data into Information and Knowledge thereby decreases the risks when making business decisions – being clever generalists!
Therefore, I wonder if “information management” is a technology, or a business issue?
Should the role of Information management more truly rest in the realm of the Accountants, the traditional interpreters, providers of reports and source of knowledge?
As a LinkedIn contributor pointed out is what we need is “a new breed of professional that can combine technical thinking with business thinking” – clever generalists?
Post Scriptum 4/1/2013 – the related linkedin discussion has been deleted so this post was updated to remove broken links








 

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