Monday, October 16, 2006

Technology Snake Oil Part 9: The CCYAO

There is a corporate title that no one talks about but who is critical in many organizations: the Chief Cover-Your-Ass Officer. He's the C-level executive to whom you must to sell technology choices. He's always skeptical of new technologies because that's his job.

Back in the days when client/server was the norm and PowerBuilder reigned as king of corporate development, the company for which I worked was promoting Delphi as a good alternative for a particular application for a trucking company. Anyone with any technical knowledge could see quickly that Delphi was a better choice. All the technical people at this company clearly acknowledged that they wanted Delphi, and that a PowerBuilder solution for this particular application was doomed to failure. After a series of meetings with the CCYAO officer and others, they told us their choice: PowerBuilder. When asked why: "There is a good chance that this project will not succeed, and frankly we think the only chance it will succeed is is we use Delphi and your solution. However, if it fails, none of us will be fired if we pick the standard that everyone else uses, PowerBuilder. So, we're going with PowerBuilder. Thanks for coming in."

This is the same C-level executive that coined the phrase "No one ever gets fired for choosing IBM", which has been upgraded to "No one ever gets fired for picking Microsoft". No matter what the technical merits of your solution, ultimately, you've got to sell it to the CCYAO officer.

No comments: