The Higher Ed CIO Blog
I began The Higher Ed CIO blog with a focus of advancing the role of the CIO in higher education. Yet, much of what I write is not specific to higher education and not surprisingly many readers do not work in IT directly. In some respects, I thought the range of subjects I would blog about and the perspective I would bring to them would be helpful to all college leaders, not just CIO’s.
My goal for the non-IT reader was to offer a glimpse behind the IT curtain into how the sausage is being made. I envisioned helping them become better consumers of internal IT services, leaders of IT governance, and more savvy consumers of third party IT services whether from the cloud or traditional products. In the end, the motivation for the non-IT reader was to help them get the most value from their IT dollar regardless of where they spend it.
My goal for the IT professional and CIO readers is much more straight forward. For them this blog is intended to help CIO’s shift their role from being tactically oriented in operations and technology to one that is strategically oriented and focused on adding real value and transforming the institution. For the senior IT leader this would be useful in preparing for advancement into a CIO role. The picture below helps illustrate this idea.
This diagram attempts to illustrate the distinct roles of a CIO and the limits on being able to fulfill each of them equally. That the more a CIO remains anchored in the functional world their ability to participate strategically will remain limited. In order to make the strategic shift CIO’s need to have a management team in place that can attend to the departmental activities.
And so although I could blog about a lot of technology and tactical things, much of that does not help a CIO with creating institutional value. So I will tend to come at each topic from the perspective of the right hand side of the diagram leaving the view from the left side for others to tackle.
In serving both audiences I am mindful to keep things simple, practical and authentic. I prefer to write original content and avoid re-posting others work unless it is really special. What began as a personal plan of writing 2-3 posts per week has now been increased to a goal of 4-5 meaningful posts per week in an effort to keep my lists of ideas to a minimum and to explore the potential to be a more complete resource for CIO’s and other readers.
The challenge for me and I am sure for some readers is the realization CIO’s in higher Ed are not all in the same place. There is an incredible range of backgrounds among CIO’s who support a range of institutions. This is not a monolithic industry and no Top 10 list applies to everyone equally. And so I am intentionally not trying for the middle of the road, instead some posts will target large university CIO’s who are well-healed while others will focus on smaller schools with a CIO who may not have come out of IT.
I decided to begin offering reviews of books, research reports and products as a service. This decision was made mostly as a way to increase my access to the current thinking found in primary research and new publications so I could produce richer content. I also wanted to have a formalized way to structure direct commentary on new products whether it be at the vendors request of by my own interest. This aspect also includes the importance of SEC disclosure compliance for bloggers.
Companies or individuals interested in having me conduct a review or their service, product, research, book or something else should drop me an email or send me a Tweet and we will work out logistics or any details.
About Me Professionally
I have an incredibly diverse background which is something I am very proud of. I have chosen to build my career upon broad and deep capabilities by adapting my knowledge from one field or industry sector to another, from the customer side to the provider side, all while adjusting my knowledge technically and professionally. None of my success would have been possible were it not for the fact that I am a bit OCD when it comes to learning new things or adapting to new situations.
I share that with you so you would understand why I have embraced the idea that the nature of work has fundamentally changed during my career and especially in IT. Today, we possess capabilities in the form of skills and knowledge that can be applied to solve problems and exploit opportunities in a wide range of industries and organizations. Today it is less about employers and jobs and more about matching skills with needs and solvers with seekers now the basis for crowdsourcing.
We typically think of this as a contingent workforce of contract and temporary labor. I think of it as my ideal since I love digging in hard and fast to help people who need it yesterday. Doing in days or weeks what takes others years and lifetimes. My employers and clients know they can work me hard, put me away wet, and I will roll off when it is done. I start-up fast and hit the accelerator and can roll onto another one. I guess I am saying I love hard work and complex challenging issues.
Being wired the way I am makes me well suited for fixing IT departments that are under performing and for working in demanding industries or for demanding customers. Its work that requires energetic, decisive action grounded in solid experience and a willingness and ability to coach and teach and a double helping of stick-to-itiveness. The other side of that pancake is I am not a good long term fit for organizations looking for a gentleman’s ‘C’.
I would love to connect with readers of this blog via my LinkedIn profile.
About Me Personally
I am married with no kids living on a farm in western Wisconsin that was built when this area was first settled. We have spent several years getting this old place back in shape and there aren’t many more big projects left.
I love working with my hands and growing things. I have converted several acres over to native prairies and I care for several large plantings around the house and barns which keeps the mowing to a minimum. My work as a restorationist drives the core of my Green IT thinking. I also grow strawberries, raspberries, apples and cherries which we sell at the local farmers market in the summer – just another form of hard work and with great customers that I love.