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Welcome to iTWire's new enterprise IT blog, The Wired CIO. First up, what is the function of your IT department? Is it merely a commodity or is it a commercial differentiator? If not the latter then something is seriously wrong.

Welcome to The Wired CIO. This new blog will feature on iTWire.com each week with news, views and real-world guidance about the complex world of enterprise information technology.

Actually, 'complex' barely begins to describe corporate IT - a department seen both as magical and frustrating, as both essential and dispensable and as both economical and costly all at the same time.

Woe betide the hapless Chief Information Officer or IT Manager. The typical C-level executive can be understood at a glance - the CFO handles cash flow and statutory compliance, the Engineering COO converts raw materials and labour into tangible, finished products, the CMO fashions glitzy brochures and ad campaigns. Yet, for many, the CIO and his or her department are misunderstood.

IT, as the very name indicates, is all about information and about technology. It's a very ethereal combination.

The reasons for this can be explained by way of two questions.

First, what does IT do? An organisation can easily construct task lists for financial staff. Accounts Receivable must generate invoices, chase delinquent debts and perform cash receipting on a regular basis. Accounts Payable must ensure purchase orders are appropriately signed, that invoices are authorised and that debts are paid in a prioritised manner. You can make regular timetables and task lists for finance.

By contrast, IT is generally about ambiguity and exceptions. The IT team will be automating repeatable and routine tasks, and will be taking phone calls, e-mails and help desk requests relating to faults, problems and general user uncertainty.

 

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David M Williams

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David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. Within two years, he returned to his alma mater, the University of Newcastle, as a UNIX systems manager. This was a crucial time for UNIX at the University with the advent of the World-Wide-Web and the decline of VMS. David moved on to a brief stint in consulting, before returning to the University as IT Manager in 1998. In 2001, he joined an international software company as Asia-Pacific troubleshooter, specialising in AIX, HP/UX, Solaris and database systems. Settling down in Newcastle, David then found niche roles delivering hard-core tech to the recruitment industry and presently is the Chief Information Officer for a national resources company where he particularly specialises in mergers and acquisitions and enterprise applications.

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