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"Throw Out The Old IT Rulebook" — Our 2012 InformationWeek 500 Conference Theme

As we plan the 2012 InformationWeek 500 Conference, we’re looking to challenge attendees. Get in their faces a bit.

Most CIOs say they understand that the old “IT rulebook” is obsolete, mostly because customers or colleagues in other departments are making noises about working around their organizations—or already are. Yet they still cling to their legacy systems and practices. They insist on developing expensive native apps when the Web variety will do. They focus on securing their companies' perimeters and devices rather than their most important data. They allow the use of cloud services for only non-strategic apps and infrastructure. They continue to analyze data to find out what happened yesterday instead of what's happening now—or will happen in an hour, a day, or a month from now. They view social networking as a distraction rather than a core employee, partner, and customer platform. They shut out the personal devices and apps employees say they need to do their work. They take a year to deliver key business systems when peers in product development or marketing insist they need them in three months. 

So if most CIOs understand all that, why do they cling to the old rulebook? Because the required IT transformation is hard. It takes investment. It takes commitment, especially from the CEO and other business colleagues. It requires them to make very hard decisions about their people and platforms and the vendors they work with. And it takes a lot of know-how some IT organizations just don’t have. "Smaller," "lighter," and "more agile" IT are more than just buzzwords. They’re new IT rulebook imperatives. While we're at it, let's add "less expensive." IT organizations that fail to meet these challenges will get relegated to being cost centers that will be cut further.

At the InformationWeek 500 Conference this September, we’re going to challenge attendees to ask themselves the following questions: How would your customers and colleagues rate your organization? Highly responsive, open-minded, agile, innovative, even visionary? Or a rubber room case study in Einstein's definition of insanity: An outfit that does the same things over and over again and expects different results?

At the conference, we’ll gather more than 250 of the industry’s top CIOs and other business technology execs to discuss how leading-edge organizations are rewriting the old IT rulebook and at the same time accelerating business execution and growth. The title is “Throw Out The Old IT Rulebook: A CIO's guide to moving beyond legacy systems, processes, and thinking—and truly becoming more agile and innovative.”

InformationWeek has already laid the groundwork for this conference: I wrote a column on the subject, “The New IT Rulebook: Not For The Faint Of Heart,” and Chris Murphy followed with a more in-depth and prescriptive cover story, “15 New Rules For IT To Live By.”  I recommend that you read Chris’s piece in particular. You’ll get a better understanding of the huge challenges we’ll be addressing in September.

I hope to see you there.

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