A New Meaning for CIO?

Emmett won't be surprised if the "I" in CIO soon stands for integration instead of information.

One of the best technology books to surface in very a long time is one that you won't find shelved with the technology books. The book in question is The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, the updated and expanded edition, by Thomas L. Friedman. Originally published in 2005, the expanded edition came out in 2006 and includes jewels of wisdom that Friedman came upon after the first edition was published.

One of those jewels is the discussion of a memo written by Jeff Wacker, a futurist for Electronic Data Systems Corporation (EDS). Wacker wrote about jobs that exist today which won't be around in 15 or 20 years. One of those jobs is that of CIO, Chief Information Officer. With information becoming ubiquitously embedded in everything already, the need is not for information -- it's for integration. The CIO, as it exists today, will be replaced with a Chief Integration Officer.

In some circles, integration can be read as specific to business processes as opposed to operating systems and platforms (which is really just a semantic issue). To see how prevalent the business need for integration in technology is today -- as opposed to 15 to 20 years from now -- I went to the online job site Monster.com and did a keyword search for "integration." Of the entries that came up on Nov. 24, 2006, 7,920 fell under the "information technology" category, 2,927 under "computers, software," 427 under "Internet/e-commerce" and 385 under “computers, hardware."

The table below shows the salary ranges for those positions based on the category in which they fell. Not every posting includes a salary or range, and thus only those that do are included in the table:

 

$1-14,999

$15,000-$29,999

$30,000-$49,999

$50,000-$74,999

$75,000-$99,999

$100,000 or more

Information Technology

256

6

66

321

502

306

Computers, Software

242

2

48

190

306

171

Internet/E-Commerce

49

1

11

33

32

14

Computers, Hardware

54

0

4

16

31

23

I honed in on the postings under two of the categories to look for technologies that were appearing on a regular basis. While some technologies/operating systems appeared only every now and then, others showed up consistently. Beneath the "information technology" postings, requirements that kept appearing in either the text or the searchable keywords were:

  • BizTalk
  • Microsoft Windows 2003
  • Oracle
  • PeopleSoft
  • SAP
  • UNIX
  • Websphere/WebSphere
  • Windows (generally XP though this will probably change to Vista soon)
  • XML
  • XSL

In the "Internet/e-commerce" category, the following list shows the 10 technologies that continually appeared in the text and/or searchable keywords:

  • ASP
  • C/C++/C#
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • J2EE/Java
  • JavaScript
  • MySQL
  • PHP
  • SQL
  • XML

Intrigued by the results and the fact that operating systems were not appearing more often than they were, I changed my search criteria to look only in the "information technology" section. When I searched for "integration Linux," 722 postings came back. When I searched for "integration Unix," 1,516 postings were found. Changing it to "integration Windows" brought up 1,505 matches, and "integration Macintosh" only 13 (using "Mac" in place of "Macintosh" wasn't acceptable since it brought up companies such as Freddie Mac and threw off the results).

Realizing the overlap that must be there for there to truly be integration, I changed the search criteria to the entries in the following table, which summarizes the number of returns:

Search criteria

Number of matches

integration macintosh linux

5

integration macintosh unix

4

integration macintosh windows

12

integration unix linux

483

integration windows linux

387

integration windows unix

638

To rule out any anomalies that might be at one particular site, I repeated my last set of searches in CareerBuilder.com. For the same day's postings, here are the results:

Search criteria

Number of matches

integration macintosh linux

10

integration macintosh unix

4

integration macintosh windows

16

integration unix linux

449

integration windows linux

399

integration windows unix

629

The large number of postings at both Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com convinced me that there is a need for a Chief Integration Officer today and not 15 years from now. A search for the specific title at both sites returned zero postings, indicating that the acronym CIO is still being associated with information rather than integration. A search of the title on Google, however, returned 12,100 results, with many coming from such sites as Workforce Insights, Business Intelligence and so on. Given this, I have to concur that it's only a matter of time before we start seeing "CIO" used in a whole new way.

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