IT directors thrive at board level

IT directors are in the strongest position they will ever be in, despite the current economic downturn.

IT directors are in the strongest position they will ever be in, despite the current economic downturn.

That was the claim made by IT consultant Rene Carayol at this week's TMA conference in Brighton. Carayol is the managing director of consultancy Voodoo and is also the author of bestselling business management book, Corporate Voodoo.

"With Y2K, IT directors responded to a major problem because they had to. With the .com business it was just a case of having to deal with a 'we too' situation," Carayol told delegates.

"But with businesses now having to change strategies in response to a recession, the IT director is responsible for implementing major changes on behalf of the board," Carayol said.

"In the present climate there is no better job than the IT director, because they are now the prime movers when it comes to strategy."

Carayol has been an IT manager at various companies, including a 10-year stint at Marks & Spencer. That did not prevent him criticising his old company; he accused Marks & Spencer of not having a "plan B" business strategy while it was enjoying its 100-year dominance on the high street.

Carayol said the retailer was still struggling to change its typical command and control management strategy for running its business.

This was, said Carayol, a typical formula for most leading brand companies, but one that should be replaced with flexibility and free thought. The new breed of IT director should be a facilitator and a team builder, rather than someone that instilled fear in his or her department.

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