Strategy by Top 10 Lists.
David Letterman is synonymous with a particularly sardonic form of Top 10 list, and countdown legends Dick Clark and Casey Kasem have convinced us that there is something important about rankings, intoning significance to even small changes.
So let's try. Changes in the yearly IT priority countdown compiled by the NASCIO, based on the views of its members, would have rocked lesser countdowns. Half of the Top 10 are new!
E-Discovery debuts at No. 4, propelled by worries over changes to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. This Electronic Records Management revival is flanked by another four entries charted with bullets. Connectivity is cool again, up 11 slots to No. 7, buoyed by a push by new administrations for statewide broadband, and the early buzz around unified communications.
A new cover of the perennial favorite Governance rockets to No. 8, and the intractable Interoperability jumps to No. 9 on hopes that new technologies can finally crack the code. Newcomer Human Capital places 10th out of fears that today's headliners are becoming golden oldies.
2008 2007 State CIO Priorities (NASCIO)
1 2 Consolidation
2 1 Information Security
3 5 Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity
4 * 16 Electronic Records Management/Preservation/e-Discovery
5 6 Health Information Technology
6 3 Shared Services
7 * 18 Connectivity
8 * 22 IT Governance
9 * 14 Interoperability
10 * -- Human Capital/ IT Work Force
The three-point fall of Shared Services is hard to explain given its popularity in the trade papers and on the ground. Consolidation knocked Security from No. 1, but that may only be until Security's next big hit.
NASCIO also released a new chart to tap sentiment about the next big thing -- setting up inevitable comparisons between its priority technologies and IT research firm Gartner's longer-running list of strategic technologies.
2008 Priority Technologies (NASCIO)
2008 Strategic Technologies (Gartner)
Virtualization plays well on both charts: Gartner's nod to Virtualization 2.0 maps with the two entries at the top of NASCIO's list, covering storage, computing and data center virtualization, and server virtualization.
But while the NASCIO charts have a heavy "blocking and tackling" rhythm to them, Gartner's list pushes into what's new and next, with a huge play for the expanded role of the Internet and utility computing in the enterprise.
The greatest divergence on the charts may be over Green IT, which tops the Gartner list but hasn't gotten traction among public CIOs beyond a vague sense of being a moral imperative. The absence of clear business drivers echoes a complaint spoken at the origins of pop culture charts -- "Good beat, but I can't dance to it."