Posted By: Erica Flores, Industry Clusters and Economic Development
Maryfran Johnson was named Editor in Chief of CIO magazine and events in January 2009. A longtime journalist and editor, she brings more than 20 years of experience covering IT leadership, technology and business trends to her role, along with an extensive network of CIO contacts from previous leadership positions at Computerworld and CIO Decisions magazine.
The Dallas Regional Chamber is proud to partner with CIO Magazine for CIO Perspectives, a one-day IT executive event packed with informative sessions and professional networking opportunities. Maryfran will moderate the February 16th event in Dallas, and we were fortunate enough to catch up with her to ask a couple questions about the latest buzz.
- The CIO Perspectives events are taking place in 9 U.S. cities in 2012. Why did you choose Dallas as your first stop?
We’ve been starting our CIO Perspectives series out in Dallas since 2009 and it somehow sets the tone for the rest of the year. The CIOs and the IT leader community here in Dallas is so friendly and welcoming, it’s always an incredibly upbeat, enjoyable day for us all. “We’re all like family here,” is how one CIO put it at our Dallas event last year, and everybody in the room nodded in agreement.
- What is at the top of every CIO’s mind right now?
In my experience, CIOs are always thinking about three things: innovation, leadership and business strategy. Everything they do somehow connects to those big-picture topics, especially since the way companies use IT today can determine their success in the future. The big tech trends that are having the greatest impact on businesses today – and therefore very ‘top of mind’ for CIOs – include “cloud” computing (what everyone used to call outsourcing), mobility, social media, consumer devices (smartphones and tablets, etc.) in the workplace, and data security/customer privacy protections.
- What do you think the technology interface will look like in five years?
Five years is like five lifetimes in the IT industry, so it’s awfully hard to predict anything at all. But I think we’re seeing the first wave of intuitive, human-friendly interface designs showing up on smartphones and tablet computers now. In five years, I’d guess that voice- and facial-recognition technologies will be much more advanced than today, which could make the whole interaction with our technologies so much easier. Personally, I’d love to see someone invent the “Replicator” from the TV series Star Trek Enterprise. Remember how the Captain could just saunter up to a hole in the wall and order “Earl Grey tea, hot?” And pffft, it would appear. Now there’s a technology interface to love!
- Just last week SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) were kicked into oblivion. What is your take on the proposed bills?Oblivion can be short-lived in politics, and these bills could always resurface. I think the lack of due process and government censorship aspects in both Acts had great potential for harm, and the massive, unprecedented online protests prompted a lot of second thoughts – even among supporters. No law-abiding citizen is in favor of online piracy or theft of intellectual property, of course, but SOPA and PIPA were clearly not the right answer.
- What are CIOs worried about in the social-media world?
Data security and privacy protections around customer information and intellectual property would be the No. 1 concern, followed quickly by the back-end integration complications that arise with some of these social technologies. What looks simple to us as consumers and users can be quite a tangled mess to deal with behind the scenes. Most midsized to large companies have incredibly complex IT infrastructures and legacy systems (remember mainframes? 90% of corporate data still lives there) that were never built to manage all this “unstructured” data from multiple sources. But I have every confidence that CIOs will figure it all out – they always do!
Please join the Dallas Regional Chamber and CIO Magazine on Thursday, February 16th for CIO Perspectives. Event information can be found at www.cioperspectives.com/2012Dallas. Qualified DRC members can register at www.cioperspectives.com/DallasChamber for complimentary tickets.