The Evolving Role of the CIO, by John Loebenstein


The modern era of the CIO evolved from the period of 1995 to 1998, with the growing public realisation that the internet was able to deliver information and connectivity easily to their grasp. This explosive take-up, akin to the proliferation of free nuclei in an uncontrolled nuclear explosion, has led us to the exciting world of today where information is within easy grasp of a vast proportion of the world’s population. Prior to 1995 – and despite the arrival of the personal computer and the development and expansion of internal networks – the CIO was generally viewed as a scientist providing what was recognised as an important service. However, the technology was viewed with some suspicion and not regarded as essential to business. Consequently, it was uncommon for the CIO to be embraced within the ranks of executive management. The contribution of IT to business, although full of promise, was relatively minor, limited in scope, not terribly reliable and expensive. A number of fundamental technical breakthroughs rapidly changed all of that.