A peloton of commentators have sprinted to take the lead in creating models and justifications for a two-speed IT department. Using 20 years of reporting and no experience of integration, technology strategy, implementation or leadership, the publishers of this title can today announce its Tandem IT strategy for your adoption. Having taken part in just one tandem bike race, we feel the bicycle made for two represents the ideal model for struggling CIOs in the digital age.
Just as in business, a tandem bike has a pilot and a stoker. For clarity, the pilot is the good looking one that's confident and outgoing and therefore gets the front seat and all the controls. The pilot's handlebars turn; they have the brake leavers and the gears, as well as being the smiling, in-control face approaching business leaders see as the tandem wobbles towards them. The stoker has the rear seat, their handlebars are purely there for balance and there are no controls. A stoker's role is simply to provide plentiful power; think Scotty in the original Star Trek series. Scotty was stuck in the bowels of the Star Ship Enterprise like the traditional boiler man of the ill-fated Titanic, unable to see where the threat was or the damage the Klingons were dealing, but loyally providing more power on the demands of the captain. Tandem IT relies on your organisation having at least one Scotty in the stoker army cranking out the power on demand.
A stoker in Tandem IT just like a stoker tandem cyclist has no visibility whatsoever; all they can see is the pilot's back and perhaps an enlarging pool of sweat as the pilot worries about the direction of travel.
Because all the controls are in the hands of the pilot, Tandem IT and tandem cycling require heightened levels of communication. However, CIOs adopting Tandem IT must be aware that due to the increased speed of modern business and the acceleration delivered by the twin power plants of a tandem, almost all attempts at communication fail. All a stoker can hear is the deafening whistle of the wind in their ears as the tandem accelerates towards an outcome only the pilot can see.
The tandem has become a frame from which to hang comedy on for many years. For some reason the wider public and especially The Goodies (we appreciate they rode a triplet) believe that one person with all the controls and power and another devoid of knowing the direction of travel will ultimately result in a comedic accident!
Riders of tandems struggle to be taken seriously, the pilot will continually told "they've got their feet up" and the stoker be told "pedal up, the leader's doing all the work". It will ever be thus for the Tandem IT department.
So if the CIO community has got over the summit of business alignment, does a model of different speeds really sound like a pedal stroke in the right direction? And if tandem bikes are so good, why don't the monarchs of cycling, Denmark, have streets packed with them? Like riding a bike, sometimes you have to take a long hard look at the demands on CIOs, and have a bit of fun with them!