Peer network launched in Australia

Cambridge Information Network (CIN), an exclusive, professional online network of senior IT executives, was launched yesterday in Australia. CIN provides a secure online environment where members collaborate to share experiences, solve common problems and exchange benchmarking data and other information.

Membership to CIN is free, but strict criteria apply. CIN members must be either the most senior IT executive in companies with revenue of at least $US50 million or the director reports to the CIO in companies with revenue of at least $US200 million.

"Because of our strict membership criteria, we can offer our members true peer-to-peer interaction," said Ellen Schreiber, director of online products, services and research, CIN.

"The issues that CIOs face are not confined to a single locality, so advice or shared experiences from other CIOs is extremely valuable," she said.

Australian IT executives now have the opportunity to ensure they are well represented amongst a membership that boasts 3500 and spans 52 countries. "Currently Australian and New Zealand CIOs account for around 2 per cent of our members," Schreiber said.

"We hope to create a critical mass that would allow us to offer the full benefits that membership to CIN entails," she said.

This includes hosting face-to-face meetings with peers as well as providing a local research capability. There are about 90 members so far in Australia and New Zealand, which CIN hopes to boost to at least 150.

At least one Australian member finds CIN beneficial to his day-to-day life as an IT manager. "Being an IT executive is one of the toughest jobs," said Patrick Teh, group IT manager, Hoyts. "Often you are removed from the commercial aspect of the business."

"CIN lets me share all of that, soliciting ideas and sharing my experiences with my peers in a roundtable environment," Teh said.

"The plus of CIN is that the nexus is in the US, where many of the new ideas are spawned, yet the membership is so global," he said. "That makes it far superior to other forums I've come across."

CIN is funded by its association with Cambridge Technology Partners and through sponsorships from vendors. However, Schreiber stresses that member privacy from vendor intrusion is guaranteed. "Vendors do not have access to member discussions," she said.

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