Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Titles, acronyms and the morphing of technology roles


Like many of business’s self-anointed indispensable experts, technologists thrive on acronyms. To someone who doesn’t understand technology, this bizarre world of alphabets can allow for jilting conversations in staccato.

 “I was under a DDoS”.

“Well, we have internal DNS and a WSUS”.

“Did you know that 365 doesn’t allow static IP? It’s all DHCP.”

“I love VDI. It’s far better than APP-V”.

“I use DFS instead of DPM. More reliable.”

…and on and on. Frankly, it’s very similar to Klingon. Strange dudes talking even stranger.

Now, the same acronym mess has infiltrated the titling of technologists. I recall the simpler time when we did not even call it IT (Information Technology), rather it used to be called MIS, short for Management Information Systems. And you were Director MIS or Vice-President of MIS.

But someone didn’t like that simple stuff. Acronyms, meet titles.
Some, more old fashioned schemas still have VP IT , but they seem to be disappearing. Now we have CIOs and CTOs. People are completely confused about the difference between a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and a Chief Technology Officer (CTO). What do these folks actually do? Why do some organizations have both, while others seem to select one or the other? Can a CIO become a CTO? Apparently some do. What changed for them? The answers can be hard to come by.

Recently, I met a CTIO (Chief Technology Information Officer). I guess they wanted to make sure that all the bases were covered. And then there is the CMIO (Chief Medical Information Officer), and probably another dozen variations of all these alphabets in a jambalaya of titles which no one seems to be able to understand fully.

As a CIO, I was recently introduced to a board member, who thought I was the Chief Investment Officer and started discussing risks in financial securities with me. I don’t blame him; and I do need help with my portfolio.

And now a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is morphing with a CIO (Chief Information Officer) to create another flavor of yet another CMIO. So now you could be a CMIO who is either a medical doctor or a master salesman. Great, this should make it easier for all of us.

Why this latest morphing? Because the largest consumer of data within an organization is now increasingly the marketing department. The potential of “Big Data”, with its reams of  information, to which can now be applied advanced data mining  analytics, and which can then validate or identify new marketing strategies – is the new frontier.

So, if there was one constituency which now ‘gets’ technology, it is the marketing folks, and their budgets are increasingly being spent on technology. The focus on digital content, social media and even mobile applications, is steeped in both worlds - technology and marketing. When you ask CMOs what is the one area for improvement, they identify the use of technology as being close to the top of their lists.

For the CIOs, IT is no longer just about reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. IT is now expected to enhance revenues in discreet and identifiable ways.
The new paradigm seems to be tech savvy CMOs and customer focused CIOs. Merging marketing and technology is gaining momentum. “Marketing, do you take IT to be your lawfully wedded…..” I see another Supreme Court ruling in the making.

Another round of new titles looks like it is around the corner. I think I am going to copyright CIMO, pronounced See-mo and short for either Chief Information Marketing Officer or Chief International Magic Official or even Commander in Interdependent Mobility Opportunities (I might as well cover a couple more bases – right?) and while I am at it, maybe I will also do CIMOT, pronounced See-I-am-h-ot (the ‘h’ is silent, of course) and short for either Chief International Marketing Officer and Technologist or Chief In My Own Time.

Don’t get me wrong. I speak Technology Klingon too. Acronyms? Bring ‘em on.


No comments:

Post a Comment