Tech Trends for 2011:
The New CIO
As cloud computing settles in, the chief information officer may have a smaller staff but a bigger say in setting company strategy.
Illustration by L.Inc Design
Federico Genoese-Zerbi, in his role as CIO of The Boeing Co.’s (BA) Commercial Airplanes and Defense, Space and Security divisions, is in charge of IT for the company’s Commercial Aviation Services unit, which handles services including spare parts and all operational and maintenance services of Boeing airplanes from the moment they leave the factory. “If you look at our 787, it has literally thousands of software-loadable parts that are required to keep it flying and operating most effectively,” he says.
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One of his top achievements since he joined Boeing three years ago has been to help develop a SaaS cloud-based service to allow Boeing’s customers — mostly commercial airlines — to service their fleets and operate more efficiently. “We’ve created the capability to deliver this infrastructure to airlines through the cloud,” he says, “so they don’t need to stand up their own software and management systems if they don’t want to.”
Most experts agree that, for forward-thinking CIOs, the new IT is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to move out of the back office and possibly even into the boardroom. But perhaps the clearest indication that a revolution is afoot is that some companies report that they are observing the flow of power heading in the opposite direction. “Possibly more than CIOs coming onto the board, we’re seeing business directors — the guys with the MBAs — becoming IT directors,” says Ann Park, business development director at Sopra Group. Next page