Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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5/29/2008
06:15 PM
John Soat
John Soat
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CIOs Uncensored: An Interview With The Last CIO

How did it come about that Tomorrow's CIO really is tomorrow's CIO?

'Tomorrow's CIO' is the title of an upcoming InformationWeek feature story and Analytics Report, both based on an extensive survey. It's also the theme of our InformationWeek 500 Conference in September. So I thought it would behoove me to learn a little more about this CIO of the future. Through the use of an experimental tool called Google Time (don't ask--I've got connections), I was able to exchange e-mails with a CIO in the year 2025. Imagine my surprise when I found that the United States has only one CIO in the future, who's actually known as Tomorrow's CIO. Here are excerpts from that interview.

JS: How is it that you're the only CIO left in the United States?

TC: It was a combination of factors. First, outsourcing gave college students the heebie-jeebies, and computer science graduates dropped to zero. Then the baby boomer CIOs retired and died off. Then on-demand computing obviated the need for technology managers, so nobody went into the profession. I got promoted due to my experience as a hostage negotiator.

JS: So that whole Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 thing really took off, huh?

TC: Yeah. We're up to Web 27.5 now. Though the corporate side is only up to Enterprise 9.3. I don't know how those got out of sync.

JS: Do you work at one company, or do you spread your talents around?

TC: I go where I'm needed. Network upgrade schedules being what they are, I spend a little time each year at just about every company and government organization in the country. That's reflected in the change in the meaning of the title CIO: It now stands for chief itinerant officer.

JS: So I guess some of the trends we're speculating about now, like cloud computing, became standard operating procedure.

TC: Except today it's called "space computing," because most of the heavy processing is done on the data center platforms sent into geocentric orbit by Google and Oraclesoft. That helped enormously with the issue of heat dissipation and cooling. And it gave new meaning to the term "offshore outsourcing."

JS: What about software as a service?

TC: That really took off. Now you have all kinds of permutations, like software as a lifestyle, which is the country's fastest-growing religion, or software as a companion, which is actually illegal in several states. The latest trend in the corporate world is called "service as some software," which we refer to as "SaSS." Some people actually go into stores and buy boxes with shiny discs in them, and then plug those discs into their machines. It's kind of a retro thing, I guess.

JS: What about computer security? With your geographically dispersed workload, isn't security tough to stay on top of?

TC: Under federal law, all computer security was outsourced to Blackwater several years ago. It has more hackers on its payroll than the Russian mafia. The criminals are the ones worried now.

JS: To whom do you report?

TC: Every CFO in the country, God help me.

What skills do you think Tomorrow's CIO will need to be effective? Do you know of any candidates for Tomorrow's CIO today? Share your thoughts at our blog, CIOs Uncensored. To register for the InformationWeek 500 Conference, go to informationweek.com/conference.

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

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