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The best tech investment I never made: Four CIOs' tales

Minda Zetlin | Aug. 14, 2012
IT leaders must learn to tell whether a new technology will transform their businesses -- or just become the next boondoggle. Four CIOs offer their perspectives.

The best approach is to make sure upper execs understand those costs. "Every executive responds to ROI," he says. "If you can compare the return on investment with what it will cost to implement BYOD, they can make the right decision."

Knowing that an article that a CEO has read could land on your desk at any moment should serve as a motivator to stay informed yourself. "The best approach is to stay ahead of it," says Rachel Dines, an analyst at Forrester Research. "You need to be reading the same magazines, so when the CEO drops an article on your desk and wants to implement this whiz-bang thing, you'll already have looked into it and talked it out with your reports. You'll be ready to say, 'Yes, we've been thinking about suggesting this,' or 'No, we can't, and here's why not.' The worst thing is to be blindsided."

And, she says, make sure you're not doing the same thing to your own IT organization. Make sure you get buy-in from every segment of IT before committing to a project. "When I see an implementation go wrong, it's usually because someone from above mandated it," she says. "I see that more than you might imagine. Something is brought in all of a sudden, and the infrastructure folks are saying, 'I wish someone had asked me because this doesn't jibe well with the technology we have.' "




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