In 1987, I was working at The Pillsbury Company under Vice President of Information Resources, John Hammitt (the title of CIO was not widely used at that time) when CIO´s founding Editor Marcia Blumenthal came to visit with him about ideas on feature articles for a start-up magazine for our then-emerging profession. I went along to the meeting, I must admit, primarily for the free lunch. Now, 20 years later, I am honored to be asked to reflect on the changes in the CIO role for that magazines 20th anniversary.
When the inaugural issue of CIO hit the streets, successful CIOs were mostly seen as strong technologists. Many of the leading technologies of the time - MS-DOS, AppleApple´s Macintosh, IBMIBM PCs, Windows, and analog cellular phones - were designed to enable individual productivity. Companies created predominantly siloed IT functions that reported into finance or a unique line of business, with limited cross-functional interaction. Alles zu Apple auf CIO.de Alles zu IBM auf CIO.de
Our business peers thought of us as data processing or information systems managers and not chief information officers. IT, not the business, "owned‚Äù the technology, and we were solely responsible for making it work.
And then, a little over a decade ago, the IT profession began to come of age with the rise of technologies such as the Web, Java programming and wired and wireless local-area networks. These tools made it economically feasible to enable business processes across functions and speed up decision making. CIOs started to look horizontally across functions and became involved in all aspects of the business. Business leaders began to see technology´s potential to integrate business processes, and they began to seriously assume their role as the ultimate owners of that technology. CIOs gained meaningful seats at the table and were at last positioned to automate processes horizontally and achieve the real value of IT.