It’s heartening to hear the news that London’s City University is to offer a Centre for Information Leadership aimed at “developing the CIOs of the future”. For too many years, UK academia has ignored the rise of the CIO as a central figure in the fortunes of enterprises — and enterprises themselves have rarely acted to fill in the gaps.
Courses are intended to equip the next wave of CIOs with an understanding of cost management, business processes, outsourcing, legal compliance and much else that is certainly relevant to the CIO role. It’s good to hear that the idea that a degree in Computer Science alone might be a reliable foundation for a career managing the information arteries of organisations might be dying out.
City’s Head of Computing Andrew Tuson notes that other efforts have been fragmented whereas the Centre will offer “interdisciplinary … independent, evidence-based strategy and policy work”. I think I know what that means and it also sounds positive. But I’ll save a third cheer for a while because I’m not too sure that even now, the prospect of a CIO career fills many ambitious minds with glee. For many, it’s seen as the top rung of the IT laddder, for others it is the Siberia of the C-suite world.
I suspect that the participation of leading CIOs who can report back from the front on the actual challenges of the role will be needed to make the Centre come to life. Whatever happens, congratulations are in order on such a far-sighted concept that recognises the importance of the CIO today.