What's in an 'I'? City CIOs Get a Makeover

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12/13/2012 11:39:01 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
What's in an 'I'?
One is the person looking ten years out, setting the vision and direction, while the other is looking 12 months out, getting it done today. It's like the difference between the City Manager and the Mayor. 

12/13/2012 1:21:31 PM
User Rank Burgher
Re: As James McKay said in BCN Smart Cities Expo you rarely find the good ones
The best way to advance IT projects, with or without a CIO is to make the role that´s responsible for them accountable. For this, you have to have some process in place and a way of calculating the economic effects of IT projects. This is something "cloudy" (in the trendy cloud or not) and difficult to find out when IT people is firefighting and solving always urgent problems. Also, as technology is something far from all people's understanding, the real causes why a project fails can be lots of times buried under loads of jargon. To discover if a project is going OK or not, you have to contract outside firms that will come with some kind of report such that you will need to contract another third company to understand what it means. So, lack of transparency is something inherent and delays, overcosts and disconfort are perceived as coming with the package...

The "no CIO" way could have the advantage that the ones pushing for the project and the solution are the real stakeholders, so they can ask for action and commitment from external providers and make things happen, while with a CIO you risk dealing with a "black box" in the middle. A powerfull one.


Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/13/2012 10:49:09 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: What's in a Title?
Right, it doesn't really matter what the "I" stands for; rather, getting caught up on the title may indeed turn out to be a danger. A CIO should be innovative, should know the infrastructure, and should be able to work across departments to make the most effective use of technology, whether that tech comes in the form of hardware/software, or mobile apps, or both.

Another thing: Not every city is quite ready to take on the New Urban Mechanics/mobile everywhere world. Many cities still need to work with what they have and for now that requires the skills of a traditional CIO or CTO.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
12/13/2012 10:45:36 AM
User Rank Staff
Re: As James McKay said in BCN Smart Cities Expo you rarely find the good ones
Leantricity -- Interesting perspective from the UK. I'm familiar with James, though I missed his session unfortunately. So, I guess I need some clarity on this... what's the alternative? Is it to not have a "chief," per se, and rather have a group of IT professionals that works together? What's a better way to advance IT projects without having a CIO?

12/13/2012 12:26:34 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
What's in a Title?
CIO, whether the "I" stands for Information or Innovation, is just a title. The role that the person with that title, however, is more than what the title itself can define. As Ebeid said, if you're a CIO, you can be any type of CIO you want to be--just make sure you get the job done, and you get it done right. And remember, it is only just a title after all.

12/12/2012 6:48:33 PM
User Rank Burgher
As James McKay said in BCN Smart Cities Expo you rarely find the good ones
In the UK session, someone from MS UK asked him why some British cities don't have a CIO. He said something like: "You need to find a really senior profile that works to attain the business goals of the city and not to sit on technology and be absorbed by his own agenda" (he said something like this, I don't have his exact words).

In my experience working with cities, each time something gets stuck (my energy efficiency projects are, sadly, FOCUSED on ICT equipment) it's because they have the "limited" and common version of CIO.

An example from a healthcare customer that could apply: this particular hospital can save 48.000€ a year with a solution that we already have set up and it's working and in production phase there, but not finished. They only have it now in 20% of desktops. The total investment to finish the project must be 10.000€ (yes, 10K single time to save 48K yearly). They have been postponing it 2 years because the CIO says "I have no money". So the hospital lost 96.000€ because he has no 10.000. Rare for you? I see this daily...


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