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The State of the CIO

The State of the CIO

Stop. Halt. Cease and desist. Enough is enough. It's time to put paid to the irritating and ill-informed mewings of those who continue to insist that CIO means "career is over"

It's time to put paid to the irritating and ill-informed mewings of those who continue to insist that CIO means "career is over", that the CIO role is moribund, that the chances of a CIO exchanging the I for an E in his or her title are equal to those of a snowball in hell. And while we're at it, let's bury that other relic: that the twain of business and technology shall never meet; bury it deep and stomp on its grave. Why? Because those notions are quite simply wrong. Dead wrong - RIP. Most of you know that is the truth. For those of you who don't, you will after you read the following 11 stories.

It would be nice to say I had a plan or an agenda when I set out to do this anniversary issue. It would also be wrong. Still, I knew there were a few things I wanted to, well, "try", for lack of a better word.

First, because the CIO title was pretty sparse on the ground when we launched CIO magazine back in 1997, I wanted to see how it's come into its own. How the men and women who were the early owners of this title have seen it evolve, or if, in fact, it had. In order to do that I knew we had to revisit some CIOs. There were a handful I personally wanted to include, but at the same time I knew that my regular contributors (one, Sue Bushell, has been with me since day one) would also have personal favourites and sure enough they did. But I didn't want to fill this issue with then and now stories; I wanted some new voices in the CIO choir. So we cast our respective nets, and we reeled in some nice catches. But the point here is that we had no agenda, no formula, no grand scheme to show off, and I'll tell you why that's important, shortly.

The second thing I had in mind was to show diversity. That part was easy. We have CIOs from different sectors, with different backgrounds, from overseas and Aussie born and bred. We have men. We have women. We, ladies and gentlemen, have full-on diversity.

I guess the final thing I wanted to do was let everyone - the CIOs and the writers - have their own voice. The only thing I mandated - well, asked would be more truthful: you don't muck around with great writers - was that each of the writers include a breakout where the CIOs indicated things they have learned. I also asked that, in addition to real-life experiences, they have a bit of fun with their "lessons" - most have.

So, as I said, I didn't have a plan, but boy-oh-boy did this thing come together and boy-oh-boy did these stories ever surprise me, and not like you might think. Sure, the stories are interesting. Sure they're enlightening. But as I said these CIOs were pretty much picked at random; however, to a person, these men and women are business-focused (one notion gives up the ghost). Some have moved to line-of-business or non-IT executive positions (another one bites the dust). More than a few aspire to the CEO role (so long to that sentiment), and there's no reason to think they won't make it. Some of the CIOs have moved to larger organisations, others are still at the top of their game at the same company (and with that, "career is over" kicks the bucket).

Sure, the CIO job is demanding, in part because of the great expectations attached to the position. As these 11 profiles clearly illustrate, a CIO has to understand what makes every part of the business tick and must continually tune and sometimes replace the tickers.

Put simply, the men and women who tell their stories in the following pages are leaders. After all, they are - like you - CIOs.

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