The CIO Who Admitted Too Much

Opinion: The CIO of thought he was doing the right thing by revealing his company's technology shortcomings and taking the blame. Can today's CIO afford such candor? (

It has been said that CIOs at large companies today have limited direct power and—more than almost any other C-level executive—need to push the IT/business agenda by persuasion and by maintaining good relations with other stakeholders.

Taking that to heart, the CIO of recently sent off a note to key business partners taking the heat for a wide range of technologies that werent working out.

The letter from CIO Shawn Schwegman—which was signed "Humbly"—did not mince words.

"Ill start by saying that the vast majority of system problems we have are problems related to updates," Schwegman wrote. "These update problems have been manifesting themselves as inventory update failures, missing orders, missing images, incorrect status synchs, etc.

"At the end of the day, all of these problems boil down to Overstocks failure (read, my failure) to architect a system that can handle real-time updates properly," Schwegman wrote.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about risk-averse CIOs who are nervous about mergers.

"I cannot apologize enough for both the number of problems you all have had to deal with and for the length of time youve been plagued with these problems. I consider this one of my greatest failures over the last two years and I am terribly sorry."

Schwegman went on to describe problems with the interactions of the Oracle database and a Vcommerce database, an effort that he labeled "horribly architected."

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