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Alastair Revell is the Managing Consultant of Revell Research Systems, a Management and Technology Consulting Practice based at Exeter in the United Kingdom.
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The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I was interested to read Martin Atherton's article 'Boots, House of Fraser not renewing IT director posts poses some interesting questions' on his blog at, which ponders the somewhat odd move by Boots and the House of Fraser not to re-appoint new IT directors when their current incumbents leave.

This certainly does pose some interesting questions...!

Although, I broadly agree with Martin Atherton's maturity model for IT governance, I am very uneasy about the idea of a board without an IT director (or at least some representation at the top table)!

While I certainly agree that the most mature model is where the IT function is completely integrated across the organisation and is seen to be (and actually is) integral to the whole operation of the business; I can only see an IT department without board level representation as a rudderless vehicle (even if the IT department is only managing
out-sourced services).

I think no board level representation really equates to the lowest level of maturity outlined in the article, where IT is a cost-centre and seen to be a necessary evil of doing business in the 21st century.

I think it is essential to have someone looking strategically at what opportunities are upcoming within IT at the top table. If the board relegate this to a sub-board level (ie: relying on middle managers to advise them) then little will be achieved strategically from the use of information technology and their competitive advantage ultimately will have to come from elsewhere within the business.

I doubt any organisation of the size of Boots and the House of Fraser would countenance dropping their finance directors in favour of shared board responsibility for finance or relying on the advice of middle managers, whose prime task is responding to tactical issues and not strategic thinking.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:50:39 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
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