FRAMINGHAM (05/01/2000) - For a magazine editor, life doesn't get much better than when it's rife with both opportunity and risk. This issue's a great example. On the opportunity side, we've got Lauren Gibbons Paul's "The Board Game," in which we look at the growing phenomenon of CIOs sitting on corporations' boards of directors. The benefits are many and substantial: the opportunity to hone one's business acumen, exposure to new technologies and business trends, and marvelous contacts (in the other members of the board).
Board gigs are often well compensated and these days are likely to include stock options.
On the risk side, Executive Editor Christopher Koch's pair of stories on ASPs is also a must-read. ASPs have tremendous potential to speed and simplify an organization's deployment and use of technology. But all the usual risks of outsourcing apply, including the fact that your company becomes dependent on the success of many subcontractors over which you have no direct influence. And for those who are still defending IT fiefdoms (and you know who you are), it may be the biggest threat yet.
Of course, CIOs know better than most that opportunity and risk are often two sides of the same coin. Our special report on IT Value, "What's IT Worth?" coordinated by Katherine Noyes, explores how to balance the need for speed against the need to know when your high-ticket efforts are paying off. Given the trends--including outsourcing IT applications to service providers--if you don't know what the costs and benefits of your technology initiatives are, I guarantee you will lose control of your destiny.
One last word on the best and worst of times. This issue of CIO is our biggest ever. The good side of that is we're enjoying the benefits of this incredible economy. The not so good part is we're all working incredibly hard to grow at this rate and keep the magazine's quality up to our traditionally high standards. Most of you are in the same boat--which, as I'm sure you're aware, will founder if you fail to attract and hold on to the talented people you need to pull it off. So while I know you won't have time to read this whole large issue, one more piece I recommend is Senior Copy Editor Tom Wailgum's "Loyalty Complex." It's insight and advice straight from the horse's mouth.