Smart CIOs are LOOKING AHEAD to the new year.

Smarter CIOs are looking FURTHER.

In our first issue of 2004, we fast-forward to 2010 to explore what’s in store for the software industry, security and, of course, the CIO role. Based on interviews with leading CIOs and industry experts, we report on several possible futures, or scenarios. How will you know which ones prevail? Watch out for the tipping points. They’ll tell the story.

For example, by 2010, CIOs could be even further in thrall to a few gargantuan vendors that keep prices high and technology impenetrable. On the other hand, open source could prevail — but only if CIOs go on strike against fast-consolidating vendors now.

Sadly, it will probably take more than user pressure to force a revolution in software design. We predict that it will take a digital Pearl Harbour. Such a disaster could lead either to a revolution in the way software is designed or to a security clampdown, with Big Brother monitoring access to information and the Internet severely constrained.

Finally, we explore what all this means for the future of the CIO. In one future, CIOs, as masters of the ultimate strategic resource — information — become more powerful than ever. But should CIOs fail to sell themselves as business innovators and instead become viewed as mere technology managers, they could fade from corporate memory. In a memo penned from the future, columnist Michael Schrage argues that CIOs who wish to retain their title come 2010 should take a much longer view than many do now on IT outsourcing, business alignment and the need for innovation.

Powerful forces at work today and in the immediate future will require that CIOs and other executives make choices that demand real moral courage. Still, as we all know, the future is not written. What you do today will determine its shape tomorrow.

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