Business & Finance
Commentary
7/27/2007
06:20 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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CIOs Uncensored: Why CIOs Don't Blog: There's No There There

At least, that's the conventional wisdom. But isn't that something of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Are you part of the blogosphere? By that I mean not just a cybersurfer or search engine junkie, but an active participant in the ongoing online dialogue. Do you read blogs, write blogs, track blogs, respond to blog posts?

The reason I ask is, first, because I'm in the blog business. I've started writing a blog for InformationWeek with the same name as this column. Second, the blogosphere is closing in on a milestone: The Wall Street Journal took notice recently that this year is the 10th anniversary of the first Weblog. Articles in the mainstream media point to blogs by everyone from actress Mia Farrow to Gene Simmons, front man for Kiss. What I don't see are blogs by CIOs.

Conventional wisdom says that CIOs don't blog for these reasons: They don't have time for it, they don't see the advantage in it, and, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, there's not enough there there.

But isn't that something of a self-fulfilling prophecy? A quick Google search evidenced the fact that CIO blogs are indeed as scarce as liberals at an NRA convention. I found a couple: one by Will Weider, the CIO of Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System, and one by Pablo Molina, the CIO of Georgetown University's Law Center.

The blog I'm working on is intended to provide CIOs somewhere to go for some there out there.

The first entry was a piece by a great CIO and good friend, Dan Drawbaugh, CIO of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and InformationWeek's 2006 Chief of the Year. Dan related his adventures trying (unsuccessfully) to get an iPhone to work on his corporate network.

My colleague Bob Evans contributed a blog entry titled, "If I Were CIO For A Day: The Top 10 Things I Would Do." Blogging was one of them.

I recently wrote an item, prompted by a changeover at the Government Printing Office, about the difference between CIOs and CTOs. It generated quite a few responses, including these:

  • "It's extremely easy for a CTO to take on the CIO role, I've seen it at three different companies. CIOs for the most part, unless they have a good technical background, cannot switch to a CTO role. They fail miserably."
  • "I want the CIO to be accountable for ensuring the organization has the right information (actually knowledge) at the right place at the right time. The CTO is the leader of those mysterious wizards who design, build, and maintain the organization's information technology. Over time, most CIOs I've observed are really acting as CTOs, and the CIO job is truly vacant."
  • "As a CIO, I was measured and therefore spent most of my time focused on the technical aspects of the infrastructure--the physical, computing, networking, storage, and applications. What the business really needed was for me to focus on the information generated, stored, and almost never really mined. A good CIO is the chief 'Information' officer, and in really well-run companies, where they are aligned with the business, they become the chief 'Intelligence' officer and find ways to leverage all the data and information in the IT systems to reduce operating costs and expand market share."
  • Amen, brother. So, there is some there out there for CIOs after all. Try blogging, you might like it--the blogosphere is waiting to hear from you.

    Start your own blog, or jump into mine: Send comments to jsoat@cmp.com. If you know of any CIO blogs, send the URLs, and I'll link to them in my blog and put them in this column.

    Rob Preston's column will return next week.


    To discuss this column with other readers, please visit John Soat's forum.

    To find out more about John Soat, please visit his page.

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