It's a few years from now and the last known member of a species has finally succumbed to the cloud. The breed appeared from nowhere about 20 years earlier, around the time of another cataclysmic global event, Y2K.
It had once been dominant, not only in its own niche but because it had quickly adapted to mixing with other species, especially those higher up the food chain.
For a while it looked as if the species would thrive in the corporate boardroom, but very soon a ravenous appetite, combined with a failure to contribute any lasting value, meant that they began to be regarded with suspicion by those around them.
Fast-forward a couple of years: a predator arrived on the scene and members of this species could not cope and sought sanctuary in far-away lands. In a place called Outsourcing, they forlornly hoped against hope for protection from the daily inquisition by the board.
They used their power base to block any and every attempt by lesser mortals to improve the way the business worked. Who else knows anything about IT? Every possible obstacle was strewn along the path to ensure that all power stayed within the IT department. So finally, apart from a few rare beasts in the public sector, the CIO ceased to exist.
Nicholas Carr in The Big Switch: Rewiring the World says we're in the midst of an epochal transformation. What happened to electricity generation a century ago is now happening to information processing: private computer systems are being supplanted by grid services and computing is turning into a utility.
Corporate IT spend has risen in the past 50 years from less than three per cent of CapEx to more than 50 per cent in many organisations - but the RoI has remained disappointing.
Compounding the problem has been a monotonous litany of failed projects and budget overruns. Then there's that pervasive lemming mentality within IT.
How many failed implementations are required before enough is enough? CIOs have a lot of interaction with each other, and you would think that a topic of conversation would be what to avoid.
Certainly, many failures result from companies attempting to gain a competitive advantage by trying to adopt new technologies. One only has to follow the insanity of BYOD and mobile since the arrival of the tablet.
How many executives got an iPad for Christmas, and the very next day wanted their corporate email supported? And this was a seemingly reasonable expectation given that you could do so much else with the device.
IT then had to work out how to do this securely; lo and behold, the next thing is an avalanche of projects to do with mobile device management.
Many of these projects have also floundered, usually because IT focused on finding El Dorado without really looking at the business objectives. In other words, you have BYOD - but with pretty much every useful feature disabled because of real or perceived security risk.
The vultures are gathering; a day doesn't go by without some new IT risk being identified, and for vendors to soon claim to have solved the problem. But there have been so many false dawns, whatever the acronym.
Everything on offer is "enterprise ready" - but frequently it is little more than a point solution that end up costing three to four times as much and rarely deliver.
The CIO is on the back foot. Vendors, consultants, analysts and the rest are lined up at the door to offer a panacea. But in general the focus is on IT and not on the business, and CIOs are being asked to provide business value from IT when all their business competitors have access to the same technology.
Is cloud a saviour or Grim Reaper? This will depend on the CIO response. Without any doubt, though, you ignore cloud at your peril, and if you can't get something as SaaS, you might best avoid it.
Your customers are not expecting you to reinvent the wheel, but they are looking to you to provide them with the services they need. So will CIOs survive cloud? It depends if they can evolve.
Calum MacLeod is EMEA vice president at Lieberman Software
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