Home > Articles

The CIO’s Role in the IT Infrastructure Support and Development Organization

Executives need to focus at least 50% of their time on getting their house (infrastructure) in order due to global competition, business requirements and issues, shrinking IT budgets, and unhappy customers. They have no choice but to get cost-effective. But it’s not too late.
Placing special emphasis on a comprehensive approach combining organization, people, process, and technology, Harris Kern’s Enterprise Computing Institute is recognized as one of the world’s premier sources for CIOs and IT professionals concerned with managing information technology.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Times have changed. The MIS managers in the 1970s and 1980s knew every aspect of their infrastructure. There were no surprises. They were very much in tune with their infrastructure, especially those people and process issues I highlight throughout all the articles and the books published by Harris Kern’s Enterprise Computing Institute. They let their system programmers and DBAs worry about the technology. Their biggest concern was reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS). The MIS managers of yesteryear were responsible for providing RAS. IT wouldn’t be what it is today without their relentless pursuit of RAS. We can learn from their experiences and the way they managed. They were involved; they spent time in the trenches with the enlisted. They were credible leaders to their troops because they typically came up from the ranks and had established their expertise.

Today is a whole new ballgame. Yet, to be successful, CIOs need to show the same leadership as their peers of the 1970s, and they need to set accountability standards.

Infrastructures are bending, bleeding, and becoming more costly than ever because everyone’s supporting more disparate systems than ever before. Very little time is being focused on implementing key processes. (Actually, the organization structure is so far off center that such processes would not be effective in this environment anyway.)

CIOs everywhere have been focusing on new systems development and deployment. They know that development is where they get the biggest bang for the buck. (And, of course, it’s the politically correct thing to do.) The faster new systems are deployed to meet the needs of the business, the easier it is for the CIO to gain peer respect in the short run. Unfortunately, this modus operandi doesn’t encourage long-term planning.

What about the long-term impact of continuously adding network information systems? If new applications don’t fit into the overall IT architecture, or don’t have ample bandwidth or adequate support from the DBAs, they don’t work. Believe me, I’ve seen too many examples of well-intended projects going amok because they were created in a vacuum, without consideration of the infrastructure required to support them.

Executives Out of Touch with Their Infrastructure

Executive management needs to get involved! Things are desperately out of control with the IT infrastructure. Yet management really doesn’t know how bad it is. It’s a real mess out there, as I’ve depicted in previous articles. The problem is that executive management is overloaded but now it’s become a crisis.

As a first step, management needs to dedicate a few days to understanding the issues that their organization is facing. Executives need to spend just a few days in the trenches with their technical staff to get the true picture. The horrors they uncover will shock them—a wakeup call that they’ll never forget. This is a necessity!

But that’s not enough. Executive management has to establish a set of common metrics to judge how well the organization is meeting its daily, short-term, and long-term objectives. By having common metrics, everyone in the organization will speak the same lingo. Think about the data centers of the 1960s and 1970s. Typically, the data center was one location where everyone worked together. Today, applications development staffs are scattered around the world, the data center has become a compendium of different data centers, and executives are not located together. It’s no wonder that people are out of touch with one another—and why executives are so easily out of touch with their organizations. The point is for everyone to be in touch with what’s happening, to have up-to-the-minute news and measurements for performance so that management can be proactive, not reactive.

With a common set of metrics that everyone in the organization understands, everyone on the IT team can immediately gauge how the team is doing against its own measurements. My contention is that you only achieve high-level RAS when you understand what the measurements mean. Too often I’ve seen IT executives gloss over the nuts and bolts of making RAS possible. Executives assume that RAS is the responsibility of lower-level data center and network managers, without understanding the linkage of the different components that make this possible. By having a common metric system for RAS, different managers can see how different departments are performing, and they can correlate results among departments.

Supporting client/server applications encompasses multiple hardware and software components that must be monitored to ensure a RAS environment. Products such as Hewlett-Packard’s OpenView and Computer Associates’ UniCenter can provide seamless interfaces to hardware and software products to gather operational statistics and other data. Microsoft’s MSM and Paradigm’s desktop software management tools can provide for desktop management and ensure that only approved software is loaded on desktops.

Information about the network computing environment is critical for RAS. The dashboard of information should include basic data points like these:

  • Assets inventory (network-wide hardware and software)

  • Network connections

  • Network performance (including data-packet management)

  • Desktop software (inventory control)

  • Database connections

  • Database availability (session status)

  • Database performance

  • Operating system availability

  • Operating system performance

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020