The State of the CIO

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to make the trek to Framingham, MA and listen in on the Eighth Annual State of the CIO Research with CIO Publisher Bob Melk and Editor-in-Chief Maryfran Johnson. CIO’s eighth annual “State of the CIO” survey was conducted to understand how the role of the CIO continues to evolve in today’s business climate and to help define the CIO agenda for 2009. More than 500 CIOs in charge of IT at their company or business responded to the survey with some surprising results.

Both Bob and Maryfran were very optimistic on the growing role of the CIO, as more focus was geared towards business strategy rather than centering solely on functional challenges. It’s expected that 2009 will be the year when CIOs further establish themselves beyond the IT realm and get into the boardroom.

My colleague, Erica Camilo, also attended. In our discussions, she noted that the most thought-provoking findings in her opinion came from learning about CIOs’ investment plans and how it is now a given that IT and the business be aligned. She expressed optimism for the technology community at large as the findings revealed CIOs’ increased openness to considering alternative IT models, with more CIOs taking a permanent seat at the decision-making table.

As for my observations from a PR perspective: CIOs still want their news from a print publication. At first this took me by surprise, as I assumed they would be eager to consume content from an online news source given the continued shrinkage of print publications in the face of climbing online readership. It made sense once they noted that the broader IT specialist community was eagerly consuming content through CIO.com. I think that executive readers, including CIOs, still want their high-level, thought provoking pieces from print so they can take the time to focus on the topics in more detail. That doesn’t detract from the value of timely news and quick one-offs from the Web!

I am also excited to see the new and improved CIO coming out at the beginning of March. From the sneak-peek Maryfran presented, it looks like big changes (for the better of course) are coming!

— Posted by John Connolly

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