What's really in a name?

Consultants, analysts and academics are whipping up a whirlwind over whether the future of the IT director is as a chief information officer (CIO) or as a chief technology officer (CTO).



John Riley

Groundswell

Consultants, analysts and academics are whipping up a whirlwind over whether the future of the IT director is as a chief information officer (CIO) or as a chief technology officer (CTO).

The debate centres on these two US terms - virtually unused in the UK - and questions what mix of your current and future job involves technology or business strategy. And if you're focused on business strategy will the chief executive officer or the board eventually take that bit over anyway. And can you ever progress in this business with the word "technology" in your title?

This all raises a polite, patient smile from British users. It is what you do, not what you are called, that counts.

Let's take the job titles of the IT supremos at 700 major household-name UK companies. About two-thirds are either "IT" or "IS" director or manager or, simply, "head of IT".

The range of titles fans out broadly after this. For example, there are "people and business services director" and "technology architecture future manager" (reporting to the board). Surprisingly, there are still three "data processing managers", one of whom reports to the managing director.

But the real test for this whole debate is that out of these 700 major companies there was only one CIO and not one CTO! QED!

Next week: Groundswell reflects the undercurrents discernible at the recent IT Directors' Forum on board the Aurora

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