Chris Estes. Not ready for prime time.

Is Chris Estes really this uninformed, or is this part of the Governor Pope's "lowering expectations" game? From Greg Flynn via Facebook:

This week Pat McCrory's State IT CIO appointee Chris Estes chose to introduce himself to IT staff old style using the PA system. He made a point to say that when Pat McCrory called IT broken he was talking about the system, not the people. He also said that if anyone had any ideas for improvement he would be placing a suggestion box near his office. Not an online collaboration tool, or a survey tool, but an actual box for written suggestions, from IT people. It's going to be a long 4 years.

I've written about business technology for nearly 15 years now and I welcome this development. Chris Estes is going to become one of my go-to sources for "what not to do" stories. I can see it now. The first headline will be, "Yes, North Carolina. Luddites still run the show."

Nice job, DAG McCrory. You are jumping from one fail to another at lightspeed.


Dear Chris Estes

If your reading this over the weekend, good on you. That would be a remarkable accomplishment among your Luddite colleagues, and perhaps an indication that you're not the dumb bell you appear to be with you so-called "suggestion" box.

From state government propaganda

Estes enters state government with extensive management and IT experience in the private sector. He most recently served as a principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading strategy and technology consulting firm where he helped some of the largest companies digitize their customer experience. He previously served as Business Development Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers before joining IBM after its acquisition of the company in 2004.

As you know, consulting with clients and being a client are two radically different things. As a consultant, you spend your life tap-dancing in hopes of keeping client executives happy and landing your next seven-figure gig. Based on that experience, I'm guessing you're wildly out of touch with what an authentic customer experience really looks like on the ground. (For the record, you're looking at it right now.)

Your non-existent presence on Twitter, for example, is glaring, if unsurprising, evidence to support my point. Most partners at big consulting firms suck at social engagement, considering it either beneath them or irrelevant. All of which helps explain your remarkable suggestion-box stumble.

More importantly, your gaffe belies a 20th century mentality about the nature of today's workforce. The thought that you believe people can and should physically come around your office to drop a note in your little box is insane. If you're serious about improving IT performance, the first thing you should be doing is eliminating geography from your workforce mindset entirely. A solid third of your IT shop can and should be able to telecommute from anywhere in the world, saving we taxpayers countless dollars for offices and related infrastructure.

Estes is a proven business and technology change agent with management consulting experience in financial services, high-tech, and manufacturing industries for leading brands across strategy, design, transition and operation stages. His mission is to continue trusted advisor relationships by solving complex business issues traversing people, process, and technology to improve customer experience in person, phone, web, and social media channels.

Really? This kind of happy talk helped you make partner at PWC? Back when I was 13, I used to write crap like this and people actually bought it. Times have changed, Mr. CIO. Have you?

Your friend,


PS Knowing what a short leash Governor Pope uses, I doubt you have the freedom to respond to citizen-customers like me. Your administration is already proving itself to be the least engaged and most secretive in the nation, and it's a safe bet you were chosen for this gig because you know how to take orders and keep your head down.

I invite you to prove me wrong. Register for an account here at BlueNC and ask us to make suggestions for improving the technology infrastructure in North Carolina. I double-dog dare you ... but I'm definitely not going to be holding my breath.

PS ... When executives respond

It took the CEO of the State Employees Credit Union less than 10 hours to respond to an online complaint here, which eventually earned admiration and loyalty from many, many readers.

Similarly, the CEO of a game company in Michigan also responded recently to a public post about a customer service problem. It took less than 24 hours for her public response and generated thousands of dollars in additional sales instantly.

How long...

...before NC residents' and taxpayers' personal information is at risk, as happened to our neighbors to the south?


The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Wednesday morning and still

no response. I guess Mr. CIO couldn't get a permission slip from Governor Pope to connect with customers. Either that, or he tripped over his suggestion box while trying to find his way to the internets.