News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

The Q factor in IT transformation

It’s just an impression, but are CIOs determined to be like the coolest cats in the room? At the two conferences on IT transformation I attended this month, I kept hearing about the letter Q, as in: “We need to be more like Q, not Dr. No.” And “the person we’re like … is not Scotty but Q.”

From what I could gather, Q CIOs of both the Bond and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” varieties all love iPads. If their staffs put up a fuss about deploying consumer products like the iPad, a Q CIO will listen to the 20 reasons why it can’t be done — as Boston Scientific CIO Rich Adduci did last April — then admonish them to man up, or as he put it, “change that mind-set and be leaders and innovators, as opposed to Dr. No.” IT transformation is not for wimps.

These Qs are cool all right. Listen to Greg Buonocontri, CIO of Pitney Bowes, on the topic of risk:

“We have been bred to keep risk out of the equation for operations reasons and failure reasons. That is a luxury we no longer have,” Buonocontri told a Boston summit of CIOs last week. “We’re going to have to take on more risk … and if we don’t, there will be other people sitting in our chairs.”

Qs come in both sexes. Before anybody sits down with the business and starts talking about being a partner, warned Jo Hoppe, CIO of Parexel International, “You had better make sure that you have the basics right … or you’ll be told to get back to your help desk calls, to get back to your knitting.”

Need it be said, Qs don’t stay home tending to their knitting. And they’re willing to go to some pretty dark places in the name of IT transformation — Hoppe’s Parexel, which manages clinical trials, is recruiting patients on YouTube and Craigslist.

Another thing about Qs? Like Bond Q and “Star Trek” Q, they owe it all to technology.

“For the first time in our history of IT,” said former H.B. Fuller CIO Steven John, “we now have the technologies that will liberate us from the operational work and even the transformational work, so we can focus on the strategic work.”