A Movie Script for the CIO’s IT Department

July 20, 2011
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Imagine a major motion picture studio contracted you to write a movie script as a screenwriter on the topic of information technologies and their role to improve their organization’s performance. What would you do?

The first thing you need to do is create a storyline plot and invent its main characters. Should the movie be murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a comedy, or a special effects flik?

Imagine a major motion picture studio contracted you to write a movie script as a screenwriter on the topic of information technologies and their role to improve their organization’s performance. What would you do?

The first thing you need to do is create a storyline plot and invent its main characters. Should the movie be murder mystery, a courtroom drama, a comedy, or a special effects flik?

My choice would be a James Bond type of movie with constant action in multiple countries. I would begin the film with a scene at a corporate headquarters of with the chief information officer (CIO) as the protagonist hero shuffling papers and pondering what to work on next. Then turmoil starts. A manager bursts into the CIO’s office and screams, “I think we have been hacked!” The film then cuts to a dark and cluttered room with suspicious looking characters in black clothes with thick accents such as from an Eastern European country. They are congratulating themselves for an apparent success at completing their nefarious task.

Next the film jumps to a nervous business manager, apparently from the hacked company, expressing shock at what she sees on her computer monitor. She cries out, “What is going on? We are being swamped with order cancellations from customers – including our largest ones!”

The next scene is of a speaker at the podium at a large IT conference. The speaker is talking about the importance of IT aligning with its business users. The camera pans at people in the audience who begin to roll their eyes, look down at their smart phones, or walk out. Their reaction conveys the message that they have heard this same old rhetoric talk many times. One in the audience, who we later learn is from the hacked company, turns to his colleague and says, “We have heard this lip service before.” 

Back to the headquarters. The CIO asks the manager who burst into his office , “How do you know we have been hacked?” The manager replies, “Our systems are crashing, and a message is flashing on our screens, ‘This is just the beginning. We’re bringing you down!’.”  The CIO leaps from his chair, runs from his office down the hall to an office with the CEO’s nameplate on the door. The CIO walks in without knocking and nervously informs the CEO. The CEO growls, “This is what IT always brings me! Problems and requests to spend more money! Maybe I should consider all this noise about shifting to the cloud and outsourcing all of you techies. It will be cheaper and better service!”

The CIO realizes this is a chance to get a win-win by somehow fixing the hacker problem but going further and demonstrating to the CEO and his C-suite executives that IT can produce technology value that supports the value creation goals of the business.

Now the James Bond theatrics begin. The CIO contacts his company’s IT security firm, and within hours not only is the source of the hackers located but the CIO is on a private jet to their location. The CIO bursts in on the hackers and screams, “Stop hacking me. Better yet. Help me. I have a CEO back at headquarters who keeps questioning the value of IT.”

The leader of the stunned hackers replies, “OK. Here is a deal. We’ll un-hack the damage. That will be easy. What we want in return are jobs – employment. Each of us has been laid off because the Cloud is removing the need for our skills. But we are super-analysts. We have competency with statistics, analytics, and forecasting.” The CIO replies, “That’s a deal. I have dozens of projects back at headquarters needing the likes of you guys.”

Then an hour of the film will be filled with racing car crashes, a CIO romance love sub-plot, and special effects – all the standard stuff needed to attract young movie goers.

In the final scene the now newly hired ex-hackers are gathered in the company’s executive boardroom. They have completed eye-popping projects involving marketing campaigns and risk management initiatives. And they proved it with measurable results of profitable sales growth. They are basking in the limelight. The CEO shakes each of their hands and say, “Great job. I am doubling all of your salaries. You transformed our IT function. I was getting tired of all this IT alignment chatter. You produced what I have been seeking from IT – business outcomes!”

The camera shifts to the CIO and his romance object. They embrace.

Only in Hollywood!