Stop CFOs stealing your thunder

If CIO's want permanent seats on the board they should consider the threat of a jail term.

It is up to the CIO to ensure CFOs don't steal all the compliance thunder, according to KPMG information risk management group partner Egidio Zarrella.

He says CIOs shouldn't be afraid to leverage the threat of jail in relation to compliance.

"So far, CIOs have squandered this opportunity," Zarrella told delegates at the South East Asian Regional Computer Confederation (SEARRC 2005) in Sydney today.

"The biggest debate in the last two years is IT governance, but where is the CIO in this debate? If governance projects are so bad then why is the CIO not in the boardroom saying 'I can keep you out of jail', and why then is the CFO currently in there saying that?"

Zarrella said a client in Singapore with a $1.1 billion IT budget and 1000 staff had 80 percent of the staff just delivering Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

When directors asked the CIO about delivering on strategic projects, Zarrella said the CIO shut the board up simply by saying: "All my people are doing is trying to keep you [directors] out of jail."

Zarrella went so far as saying the geek myth extends to the point where some CIOs refuse to be photographed with computers, because they do not want to be seen by the rest of the business as "the geek".

IDG is the official organizer and media sponsor of the SEARCC 05 conference.

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