CIO Symmetry

Dec 20 2011   9:15AM GMT

Responsibilities of a CIO: Long on demands, short on time

Scot Petersen Scot Petersen Profile: Scot Petersen

You never know where you might gain more insight on the responsibilities of a CIO. Somewhere along the line, my job title and the websites I work on got mixed up, and as a result I often am confused with the CIO of TechTarget. This, of course, is not true.

This might sound like a step up in the world, or it could even be amusing, except for the fact that about half the external calls and emails I get address me as TechTarget’s CIO. Comparing solicitations from media relations staff with those I get from salespeople who think I’m the CIO reveals very different assumptions on the part of the senders. Media requests are generally friendly and respectful of my time. Sales pitches are aggressive and pushy — almost rude, in my opinion. The salesperson doesn’t ask if I have time available; he says something like, “I have to talk to you now, please respond.” It’s the email equivalent of those guys lining Las Vegas streets pushing flyers into your hands.

I told TechTarget’s real CIO that I feel sorry for him, and asked how he deals with it. He said he tries to screen out as much as possible; and when it comes to buying products, he decides when and where he will respond to something that he might need. Better yet, he or his staff will perform their own research and reach out to a vendor or solution provider themselves when it’s time.

This experience has given me better insight into the demands put on CIOs, which I think everyone takes for granted. Given everything being asked of CIOs, from being a technology tactician to being a strategic innovator, the most difficult piece has to be finding time to give adequate attention to everything. As a result, there doesn’t seem to be any time for career development or advancement.

Take some time to evaluate where you are in your career in 2012, and see what other kinds of opportunities await.

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