Time to account

It's annual review time, and while CIOs are working hard for their budgets, ACN is making its own assessment.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  December 3, 2007

As the year draws to a close, workers across the world are putting their heads down - and sucking pens, tapping teeth and so forth - as they attempt to answer a series of vaguely impenetrable questions about themselves, and list three of their main weaknesses.

Yes, it's annual review time - between now and January, the vast majority of enterprise employees will be called in to account for themselves and their work. While for the rank and file this will mean searching questions about timekeeping, throughput, accuracy and the like, senior executives will be not be troubled by such issues.

But the benefit of not having to account for one's daily arrival and departure times is balanced out by the need to account for the costs or revenues of an entire department - say, for example, the IT department.

Over the next two months CIOs across the Middle East - along with their peers from other departments - are going to be facing some hard questions on how they run their operations, and justify their spending. For an increasing - but still small - number, this may also mean discussing the revenues of the IT department, as companies move to make their IT operations profit, rather than cost, centres.

In the current climate, these are the lucky ones - for others, increasing pressure on regional currencies means cost centres will have to fight increasingly hard for every cent in budget. And for IT departments in fast-growing regional enterprises, this may mean having to do more with less - resulting in one of the toughest jobs in the business.

So while there may be some lucky execs in the region whose annual reviews take place over a leisurely meal or coffee - and which end with a hearty handshake and a "good job, old man" from the boss, IT leaders are not likely to be among them. Far more likely is the probing interview and the hard questions about the bottom line, along with a close-fought battle about funding for new projects and maintenance.

But this is not a bad thing - it simply proves CIOs have an actual job to do, rather than being a set of lunch expenses to justify. And while immediate recognition may not be as obviously at hand, organisations everywhere are increasingly conscious of the importance of IT to the organisation.

In the meantime, for a select few, another level of recognition awaits - in the form of ACN's IT managers of the year, who will be revealed in January. As ever, this list marks out ten of the brightest and best IT professionals in the region - recognising business acumen as well as technical ability.

ACN's editorial team is currently at work putting together this list - and there's still time to suggest names, by writing to acn@itp.com - drawn from IT decision makers from across the Middle East.

And with any luck, those on the list might find it helpful to justify themselves, when it comes to their next annual review.

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