However, a CIO is hardly a stranger to communication, networking and selling one's ideas and usefulness; it's just selling to a different audience, Jameson says. "The key positive skill-set I bring from my CIO experience is to look at the problems of the business, rather than technology." Some who have built a career in the consultancy market might be comparatively technical in their approach and this gives him a possible advantage in bidding for work.
Contracting and CIO work may, of course, overlap. With New Zealand's large proportion of small organisations, unable to justify the budget for a full-timer to look after ICT, there is an opportunity in the market for a part-time CIO. A person who can work with a business long enough to translate their ideas into a fully defined ICT project and oversee its implementation, says Jameson.
Asked what "fields" he is involved in now, he jokes, "mostly green ones". He is spending a lot of time on his small farming property, as fulfilment of that more flexible lifestyle he was seeking. In the ICT-related field, he is currently involved in a project to help companies implement the requirements of the Financial Advisors Act, passed in 2008 to improve disclosure and assurance of integrity in the financial advice industry. "That's less a technical job and more about business process," he says.
Before starting business as a consultant, it makes sense to talk to those already in the field about their experiences and their ways of working, Jameson says. There are elements of both co-operation and competition in the consultancy community, he says. "People are quite free with advice, but I do find that in recent economic conditions, they hold their key contacts close."
The relationship dynamics of working with the ICT team in a client company will be different from those of a full-time CIO post. "I don't think your commitment changes," he says. "I have to have a belief that I'm delivering the best I can for an organisation, even though there is a visible limit to my time there."