Monday, 15 November 2010

The "I" stands for Information

"If you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Peter Drucker. or;

"If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." Lord Kelvin

The title on my business card says's "Chief Information Officer". The CIO title is considered by many to be the most coveted in the IT industry and typically represents the top IT decision maker in an organisation. I often wonder about the title of Chief Information Officer because as an industry we dwell on technology not information. We seem to spend more time discussing Blackberry vs iPhone than we spend talking about information and the use of information to drive performance. Interestingly, as much as we dwell on technology our biggest fear as an industry is that we will be seen by our colleagues as geeks. We are needed because someone has to keep the computers running but we are irrelevant to strategy and business decision making. It's a reinforcing circle. We focus on technology therefore our colleagues see us as geeks. When we do think about information mainly what we think about is fancy new technology tools not about improved use of information per sa.

I believe we need to re-balance our focus so that we spend our time more or less equally between use of technology and use of information, as our CIO title suggests we should. The question is how?

Peter Drucker and Lord Kelvin provide us with a clue to where to start and it is not with fancy BI tools. Step 1 is to understand your organisation and how it adds value. Step 2 is to provide accurate, or perhaps more correctly put, consistent and relevant measurement to key decision makers to allow them in optimise business performance.

Relevance is the key. The information needs to be relevant to the context of the decision maker. If it isn't then it doesn't matter how good the information is it will not be used. Those of you who have read a number of these columns, or my blog, will know that I believe that Maslow's hierarchy of needs provides a great analogy to define relevance, in this case relevance to what the decision maker is trying to understand and to guide a journey towards improving maturity. Below is my version of an Information Needs hierarchy to guide an organisations maturity in the better use of information.

As Maslow teaches us you need to begin with the most very basic needs and become more sophisticated over time. For decision making and information analytics the most basic need is help me understand what happened! While we may have access to many tools that can provide sophisticated and predictive analytics to be relevant you must start with the basics and build capability and awareness of the higher order needs over time.

First published on

The Three Blind Mice Need Your Help!!

An enthusiastic team has formed within The Warehouse Information Services who are in training to walk the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in November to participate in Delta's Mad Mountain Challenge and our goal is to raise $10,000 for the Kia Timata Ano (KTA) Trust.

The Delta’s Mad Mountain Challenge is an attempt to cross the volcanic alpine terrain, four times, non-stop, in 24 hours, a kind of Tongariro ping-pong. The group will be walking some 77.6kms, climbing 4200 metres up and 4200 metres down... and be busting a gut (or legs) to get this done in 24 hours.

Why is The Warehouse IS team doing this? To raise much needed funds for the Kia Timata Ano (KTA) Trust. This Trust is an independent women's refuge based in Rodney’s West District. It's for real people suffering real fear and physical abuse, right now, right here, at home in New Zealand. It is a charity to help women and children escape from intimidation and bullying, caused by those most able to cause them pain.

How can you help us achieve this BHAG (Big Hairy Audicious Goal)?

1) We would love you to donate $$ directly onto our fundraising page - Click here to donate.

2) Come and get your car washed at TWL Support Office on Friday, 12th, 19th & 26th November from 9am-12noon. Email for pricing and bookings.

3) OR better still - Get me out of Car Washing!!! My PA believes there are many IT providers out there who never get past her great gate-keeping skills and would love to pay $500 for an hour of time with the CIO of The Warehouse to showcase/sell their product or services. I think she knows of my car washing skills but either way I'm committed to helping the team raise $10,000. If you'd like to take up one of these exclusive offers, please email:

For all further info on the Event, please go to

I'll keep you updated with our progress and other initiatives we will soon be launching. Thank you for reading this email – and I hope to see your support soon!