Double Agent

The CIO as change leader
Reprinted from CIO Magazine (Australia) May 2001
By Steve Amesbury


Remember Florida
A word of caution in relation to the eventual project outcome – don’t declare victory too early.  Often ‘change’ is not really complete until it is embedded in the corporate culture. So by all means celebrate the final implementation, or whatever event signifies the end of the project effort – but let it be known that real success will be measured by how well it is achieving the desired results in six or twelve months time.  Then make sure to monitor those results over that time.

There are of course other activities, and there is no shortage of worthwhile books written on the subject. But the basic message is that the CIO has a specific responsibility to ensure the success of corporate IM&T projects. To this end, change management and change leadership must form part of the toolkit.  The CIO is in a unique position, understanding the technology and the business objectives, and being in a position senior enough to influence executive management behavior.  

Whether the CIO brings on board specialist change managers to assist, conducts his / her own research, or relies on previous experience will differ with each person.  The CIO has become a corporate player. It is no longer enough that the systems work, or the hardware is reliable. Corporate projects are often massive undertakings and cannot be viewed as separate technical, human and system activities. The approach needs to be holistic, and the CIO needs to expand their leadership abilities accordingly.

Steve Amesbury is co-founder and director of Island Consulting Pty Ltd (formerly Island Technology). He recently completed five years as director information services at the NSW Office of State Revenue. During that time, Amesbury was on several government committees responsible for developing standards, and was a well-known proponent for change in state government (IM&T) forums.