What if WikiLeaks Hacked Your Company?

December 9, 2010
193 Views

Imagine if WikiLeaks hacked your company’s e-mail and made available to managers and employees private and confidential internal messages from your executives. They would display disclosures similar to those by WikiLeaks reported by the New York Times, London’s Guardian and a few other newspapers of American diplomats’ highly sensitive internal communications about friends and enemies. The discreet e-mails could be read by all employees. What might be written in some of them?

 

To: CFO

From: CEO

Cc:

Imagine if WikiLeaks hacked your company’s e-mail and made available to managers and employees private and confidential internal messages from your executives. They would display disclosures similar to those by WikiLeaks reported by the New York Times, London’s Guardian and a few other newspapers of American diplomats’ highly sensitive internal communications about friends and enemies. The discreet e-mails could be read by all employees. What might be written in some of them?

 

To: CFO

From: CEO

Cc:

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Mrs. Moneybags,

What the heck happened … again? How did we fall so short of the reported profits that I expected? Did those nincompoops in sales fail us again?

Big Cheese

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To: CEO

From: CFO

Cc: Controller

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Chief,

Actually the sales force met their revenue targets. But I think the product mix they sold was with lots of our less profitable (and unprofitable) products and services that disproportionately consume more of our indirect expenses. Unfortunately our traditional standard cost accounting system doesn’t allocate those costs realistically. It complies with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) rules for external reporting. Also, our expenses were way over budget. I’ve copied our controller for his take.

Mrs. Moneybags

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To: CFO

From: Controller

Cc: Operations VP

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Mrs. Moneybags,

Stop pointing your finger at me. My problem is our green eye-shade CPA firm auditors. All they care about is compliance with external financial reporting. Managerial accounting is outside their comfort zone. They are clueless. We pay ‘em a ton to have their checkers checking the checkers. Let’s boot them out.

Regarding the unexpected high expenses, most came from operations. I’ve copied our Operations VP for his explanation.

Bean Counter

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To: Controller

From: Operations VP

Cc: Sales VP

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Bean Counter,

You want to know why my operating expenses were so huge? Go ask our Sales VP. In fact, I’ll ask her via copying her. The sales force seems to pursue the most high maintenance idiot customers! Can’t our sales force retain and grow the more profitable customers who never buy specials (only standards), never shift schedules on us, and never require technical support? But no-o-o-o-o! The sales force is cozy with the most demanding, schizophrenic and dysfunctional customers, and marketing focuses on acquiring more of these same kinds!

The result is I am incurring big overtime and unplanned contractor expenses to correct all the problems caused by these types of customers. This is no way to run a railroad.

The Fixer 

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To: Operations VP

From: Sales VP

Cc: CIO, CFO

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Fixer,

Give me a break. IT is our problem, and I’m copying them to let ‘em know it. The systems they provide us records raw transactional data for anything that moves – but not information that I can use. If I had business analytics tools provided to me, my folks good gain insights to which types of good customers and prospects to retain, to grow, to win-back, and to acquire.

Not only that. If I had analytics software, I could forecast with laser-like accuracy. That would solve lots of your problems by giving you more certainty to plan with. And Mrs. Moneybags (who I’ve also copied) and her bean counters could give the Big Cheese better rolling financial forecasts so he’s not always surprised – like this time again.

The Hunter

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To: CEO

From: CFO

Cc: CIO

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Big Cheese,

I think I’ve discovered why we keep missing our profit targets. The Hunter is blaming IT, who I’ve copied. The Hunter claims he cannot make any sense out of all the data IT reports. If the Hunter’s team could analyze the data – turn it into information – then he thinks he could gain insights and make better decisions. I think my team could benefit too with better financial projections and profitability analysis.

Mrs. Moneybags

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

To: CEO, CFO, Controller, Operations VP, Sales VP

From: CIO

Cc:

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

So, I’m the fall guy. Blame me. If you’ve got an itch, you want me to scratch it. I can get you an integrated enterprise performance management system embedded with business analytics of all flavors. But once you’d have it, I don’t think your teams are up to the task to properly use it.

Furthermore, I don’t think you know what key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure and how to set appropriate targets for them. You’ve never showed me your strategy. Presuming you have one, how can you execute it? If you can’t measure something, you can’t manage it!

Please give me the green light and some funding, and I’ll provide you what you are all looking for.

Tech-Head

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To: CFO, Controller, Operations VP, Sales VP

From: CEO

Cc:

Subject: Quarterly Financial Results

Team,

Let’s get a new CIO. This guy is a dreamer.

Big Cheese

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Similar to the way the world is interpreting WikiLeaks top-secret cables from diplomats, there is growing consensus that transparency and visibility is generally a good thing. Granted, some communications do need to be concealed for negotiations. But let’s take a deep breath and consider the value if an organization was more open book. Armed with knowledge, managers and employees can see the challenges, improve and innovate. Without knowledge, information, and the capability to analyze, it’s the same-old same-old.

 

CIOs do need to be dreamers. Good leadership is all about their providing vision and inspiration.