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Straight to the Top: CIO Leadership in a Mobile, Social, and Cloud-based World, 2nd Edition by Gregory S. Smith

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CHAPTER 1

Why the Role of the CIO Continues to Change

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.

—Arthur C. Clark1

I am honored to have the opportunity to write the second edition of Straight to the Top for several reasons. First, the information technology (IT) market continues to be robust and a constantly changing canvas that allows vendors, consumers, and IT professionals the opportunity to paint their masterpieces with different technical tools and colors.

Second, my editors at John Wiley & Sons and I saw the market opportunity to update the original text, and they had confidence in me to write the succeeding volume in a way that would assist and educate IT and business professionals on the rise.

Third, I am concerned that the chief information officer (CIO) role may be evolving to a dangerously nontechnical role that relies more on business acumen and less on IT experience and knowledge. A less technical CIO role has been a topic in a variety of media outlets for years now, and the volume seems to be rising. In a recent interview with a major media player, the journalist asked me my thoughts on whether the CIO role still needed to be technical. The interviewer suggested rotating other C-level executives through the CIO role on a six-month basis as a way to interject other business knowledge into the role. He indicated that some organizations were experimenting with this unique technique.

When asked whether I supported ...

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