CIO perceptions hit a hype-free level

While the title of CIO may have many aspirants in the US, it may be losing its hype appeal down under with many Australian IT managers worried more about results and performance and less about status.

One such IT manager is Mark Briton, TransGrid IT program manager for business resources.

Briton believes that although differences exist between responsibilities of CIOs and IT managers, the position of CIO can sometimes be irrelevant in Australia.

"There is a difference between the two titles, and it's probably that IT managers are not really corporate focused," Briton said.

"I think the term CIO has different connotations in different parts of the world and probably has more weight in the US; here in Australia it could be seen as overrated."

But what should an IT manager do if seeking the title of CIO?

"Switching to an organization that already has a CIO position in place is probably the best path to take if that's where your ambitions lie," Briton said. "But outside of IT people probably don't pay attention to your job position; however, it does draw attention in the industry."

Telecom New Zealand Australia IT manager Chris Newton agrees differences exist between CIOs and IT managers, but holds CIOs in higher esteem.

"Not having met a lot of CIOs it's hard to say, but I think the difference mainly lies around vision and leadership as opposed to management," Newton said. "The CIO is an important role, because it allows IT to have a boardroom presence."

Newton suggests that if you want to become a CIO, start looking at the big organizations.

"I think few organizations have the CIO role in their organization; only the top end of town, so it's probably a good idea to move organizations if [opportunities are limited]," Newton said.

JTB Australia infrastructure team leader Raj Daroch has no desire to be a CIO, but still respects them and the job they have to undertake.

"I think there is a difference between a CIO and an IT manager, because the IT manager mainly manages day-to-day issues and short-term projects, while the CIO is more about strategy, vision and how IT can be aligned to the business," Daroch said.

"I don't think it's an overrated position, IT changes so much that you need someone that will keep you on track and in line with the business and its goals."

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