SAN MATEO (01/24/2000) - The growing clout of chief technology officers (CTOs) has become a regular theme in our articles about e-business. That's because in many companies CTOs occupy the key spot in which business and technology intersect -- and activity at that intersection is increasing rapidly.
Our biweekly CTO Spotlights are just one of the many ways in which we're covering this part of the e-business world (see our most recent effort, "Start-up discovers its niche filling a multitude of day care needs online," Jan. 17, page 27).
I personally have CTOs on the brain because I've spent the past few weeks working with the team that is putting together the InfoWorld CTO Forum, which will be held May 15 to 17 at the Palace Hotel, in San Francisco. We've assembled a program built around the theme of turning Internet hype into business reality, and I hope that InfoWorld readers who are responsible for e-business will plan on attending.
The CTO Forum is an invitation-only event, which is priced at $1,599 with discounts for early registration (see below for specifics on how to apply for an invitation).
We developed the conference with the help of CTOs from a range of companies including Garden.com, BizRate.com, and Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch. The speakers are CTOs and other e-business movers and shakers. Keynote presenters include Fred Briggs, CTO of MCI WorldCom; Bob Metcalfe, InfoWorld's own "From the Ether" columnist; Bill Joy, chief scientist at Sun Microsystems Inc.; Paul Saffo, director at the Institute for the Future; and Pekka Ala-Pietila, president of Nokia Corp.
We've also come up with a collection of panels based on the real world of CTOs, with topics such as managing in the 24x7 world, and identifying and solving the nastiest e-business problems. I'm particularly looking forward to a segment in which InfoWorld analysts and editors will lead discussions about the top e-business technologies.
One of the highlights is sure to be the presentation of the InfoWorld CTO of the Year award, which will take place on the last day of the conference. We're accepting nominations through March 15 and invite you to nominate yourself or a colleague. The nomination form asks for information such as the projects that you've managed in the last year, your impact on your company, how you measure your success as a CTO, and a few other succinct questions that we'll use to choose the CTO of the Year.
The CTO Directory is another initiative related to the conference. It will be the first comprehensive compilation of CTOs, and it will contain more than just listings. To determine the personality of the emerging CTO community, the directory will also include answers to questions such as "What is the coolest solution you have for information anxiety?" and "Who is or has been your mentor and why?" Conference attendees will be included in the directory, of course, but it's also open to all CTOs. Therefore, even if you can't make it to the conference, you can be in the directory.
For more information about the InfoWorld CTO Forum, go to www.infoworld.com/ctoforum. At this site, in addition to requesting an invitation to the conference, you can apply to be included in the CTO Directory and nominate yourself or someone else for the InfoWorld CTO of the Year award.
If you want more details on the panels and players, the site also contains an agenda of the conference and lists the Advisory Council. We will continue to update the site with new information about the conference.
I got more proof that the CTO trend is for real in the strangest of places recently. I was having laser vision-correction surgery at the Stanford Eye Laser Center, and the young surgeon was making small talk to take my mind off the fact that he was operating on my eyes. I had told him that I would be writing a column the day after surgery and wanted to make sure my vision wouldn't be too blurry. "What's the column about?" he asked. "CTOs, chief technology officers," I said. "Oh, sure, I know what CTOs are," he responded.
"Several of my friends are CTOs. Here's a question you can probably answer for me. What's a CIO?"
Sandy Reed is editorial director of InfoWorld and has been a technology journalist for more than 15 years. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.