SAN MATEO (05/23/2000) - George Setlock, CTO of Medibix Corp. and finalist for InfoWorld CTO of the Year, exemplifies just how much the CTO role is changing with the onset of a digital economy. Although he's been CTO at Medibix for only eight months (the company has been in business for just over one year), Setlock has already had a big hand in driving forward the budding medical equipment digital marketplace.
Some of the initial dot-com startup hurdles Setlock has cleared include obtaining first-round funding, hiring staff, and implementing the company's first-generation e-commerce solution. Medibix's customers include hospitals, biomedical engineers, laboratory managers, and the like. Medibix's e-commerce solution helps these customers diagnose problems and procure replacement parts for medical and scientific equipment from industry suppliers.
Similar to many emerging CTOs, Setlock reports to the company CEO as a strategic member of the executive team, while also managing both internal and external technical resources. Medibix does not yet have a CIO, so Setlock juggles both the day-to-day tactical decisions a CIO might make as well as the visionary duties associated with his CTO role. This dual role has been a worthwhile challenge for Setlock.
"CTOs will remain as technically knowledgeable as they always have been," Setlock says. "However, the best CTOs in the future will need to be focused on strategic, cutting-edge, and next-generation technologies."
Setlock thinks that the CTO role is such an important one going forward, regardless of what industry a company is involved in.
"[CTOs] have no room for indecision or second-tier solutions," Setlock says.
"My decisions today directly affect the future profitability of our stockholders, the experience of our customers, and the loyalty of our employees."
Consistently gauging his success as a CTO is important to Setlock. Setlock explains that he determines his success by examining how well his decisions meet customer needs and expectations. So far, Setlock has received positive feedback from customers after recently rolling out the company's first-generation e-commerce solution.
Although he enjoys the success of his first endeavor, Setlock is already looking to break new ground. Even though Medibix holds a 15 percent to 20 percent market share within the medical equipment supplier community, Setlock believes his next-generation e-commerce solution will be a significant leap forward for the company -- and bring it a larger piece of the market pie.
The coming months will be equally challenging for Setlock. Aside from delivering on planned major e-commerce enhancements, Setlock will need to secure additional funding and hire more staff members. He also hopes to add a CIO who can assume the day-to-day tactical decisions while he focuses on defining Medibix's future technology strategies.
Setlock's leadership role within his company and within his industry also demonstrates his success as a CTO. His firm grasp on the business and technical initiatives at Medibix, combined with his forward-thinking approach, earned Setlock a finalist spot in InfoWorld's CTO of the Year awards for 2000.
George Setlock, Medibix Corp.
Time at company: 8 months
Biggest success: Getting first-round funding and implementing Medibix's first-generation e-commerce solutionKey challenges: Obtaining second-round funding, implementing the next-generation e-commerce solutionsPersonal note: Coaches his 8-year-old son's Little League team.