A “certified” CIO?

I was recently asked if there should be a certification or credential available to CIOs, similar to the various technical certifications available in IT. The main dangers of certifications I see are:

1) The “hammer problem.” Most certifications take a moderate to large investment of time and money, and people who acquire them legitimately want to apply that expensive knowledge. So if you’re Six Sigma certified, every problem starts to look like a Six Sigma solution is appropriate; the old “if all you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail” scenario.

2) Secondly, who certifies the certifiers? A “CIO Body of Knowledge” sounds wonderful in theory, but who develops it, maintains it, and determines that one subject area takes precedence over another? Perhaps in your industry vendor management is critical, while in mine, I “outsource” all of that to my purchasing department.

As I have frequently mentioned in the past, my overarching concern with certifications is that they become a short cut to appropriate due diligence when hiring a CIO. The temptation to request a “Certified CIO” rather than taking the time to vet and interview candidates becomes too great, especially with such a critical role.

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