A consistently clear and notably thorough guide to IT strategy that should be on every chief information officer’s desk.




A manual presents a comprehensive strategy that situates information technology within the broader context of the business it serves. 

According to Maholic (Business Cases That Mean Business, 2013), this is simultaneously a thrilling and harrowing time to be a chief information officer in charge of IT strategy since the executive can be both “the beneficiary and besieged warrior of rapidly advancing technology.” A wide-ranging strategy is absolutely necessary, but a universally effective one that accommodates all circumstances doesn’t exist—“different current states, different desired future states and different organizational structures” render that impossible in principle. Instead, the author articulates with astonishingly impressive thoroughness and clarity the general framework within which such a scheme should be constructed. Maholic argues that an IT division’s purpose is to serve the greater mission of the organization that houses it, and so a CIO must think like a CEO, always understanding technology in light of the demands of business. The author uses an acronym to capture this orientation, SEAR, which represents the four pillars of any business strategy: sales, expenses, assets, and risks. “The SEAR imperative states that every proposal for significant, material projects or programs must define success by showing how the proposed initiative increases sales, reduces expenses, optimizes assets or mitigates risk,” Maholic asserts. That bottom-line orientation undergirds the overall IT scheme, which the author envisions as a three-dimensional cube, with its primary parts Foundations; Deliberations regarding technical, philosophical, and practical concerns; and Vexations, the “forces opposing your strategy.” Maholic has twice served as a CIO at different organizations and has worked for years as a management consultant, a depth of experience that radiates from this analytically rigorous and encyclopedic study. The book is written from the perspective of a manager of an IT division versus a technologist. One of the most strikingly original aspects of the work is the priority assigned to management philosophy over technology: “Technology is among the least critical aspects in driving the success of an IT Strategy. Technology is certainly relevant and holds a central place in the strategy. But the success of your IT Strategy is more dependent on the other Deliberation considerations than it is on technology.” Maholic doesn’t just provide philosophically broad counsel—he also furnishes helpfully detailed, immediately actionable instructions regarding a dizzying array of subjects, often accompanied by diagrams. Unfortunately, the volume can lose focus, and as a result it’s bloated to well over 500 pages—he could have dispensed with establishing analogies between IT strategy and the machinations of chess and military planning. But his prose is consistently accessible and mercifully unburdened by gratuitously technical, business, or IT jargon. And besides the work’s expansive scope, its principal strength is the relentless way it emphasizes the significance of “value velocity,” or the urgent need for a CIO to deliver measurable business results in a timely fashion. Maholic’s contribution is a standout in a crowded field and should become the authoritative source on the subject. 

A consistently clear and notably thorough guide to IT strategy that should be on every chief information officer’s desk. 

Pub Date: May 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-798324-7

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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