Careers: Interviews
Martin Slofstra, Editorial Director, IT Business group: CIOs and their perspectives

This week, Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P. has an exclusive interview with Martin Slofstra.

Martin Slofstra Martin Slofstra is editorial director of the IT Business Group at Transcontinental Media, Canada's largest publisher of information technology-related newspapers and magazines. Titles include Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Communications and Networking, Direction Informatique, EDGE magazine, Technology in Government, and, a daily news web site.

He has 20 years experience covering the IT industry in Canada, graduating with an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London in 1982, and starting with Northern Telecom as a corporate writer in that same year. He joined Computing Canada as staff writer in 1985. He's also served as Communications Editor and Editor of that magazine. In 1997, he helped launched and became editor of InfoSystems Executive (now called EDGE), Canada's first technology magazine for business executives.

Mr. Slofstra regularly moderates panels and makes presentations at trade shows and conferences and other industry events.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.

DISCUSSION: CIOs and their perspectives such as on business and IT alignment

Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

00:32: Martin Slofstra talks about the impact of having a national CIO dialogue in the form of a two to three day conference once a year.
"....On one hand we are reading about the rise in stature of the CIO within an organization but there does not seem to be a big national type event in Canada that brings CIOs together from across the country. There are some regionally focused events which are quite good and that's great, but I think what would be great would be for CIOs could get together for 2 - 3 days to talk about some of these major issues..."

01:35: Martin comments on how a national CIO conference could increase the perception of influence.
"....It would probably get good business coverage from regular mainstream media...but also, (it happens every time you go to a conference), you network with your feed off of other people's ideas...and you go back re-energized..."

02:08: Martin comments about his blog as a vehicle for getting different ideas out for discussion.
"....CIOs have a very unique perspective, in the sense that they have to look at technology from not only a technology perspective, but also from a business point of view........The type of coverage we try to offer the CIO is an inside view which you may not see elsewhere..."

03:33: Martin comments on his blog about how CIOs deal with unstructured information.
"...There is a whole area generally described as knowledge management and a lot of the information that organizations deal with are not just in data's in text form or in document form.......It is less about numbers and data and more about text and ideas..."

05:15: Martin also talks about some updates within his blog about the CIO's interrelationship with the infrastructure.
"Two or three months ago I would have said that most CIOs are ready to leave the technical infrastructures behind and leave it to the technical team and spend more time on the business strategies. But I don't think it's that simple. There are all kinds of issues around infrastructure that continue to be important, a lot of it to do with may have to do with a network issue...........If you also analyze where the IT budget is being spent, a lot of it is just being spent on the infrastructure side of the business. It is something that is a bigger issue than I would have thought a few months ago."

06:30: Martin comments on some of his discussions with CIOs.
"We talked about the skills shortage and CIOs being able to retain staff ......But another big issue is about business and IT alignment....there are a lot of big issues around that."

07:50: Martin comments on an integration between the CIO and the executive suites directly.
"...I think that in any modern organization, the CIO should report to the CEO. The IT function can't just be about cost cutting - it has to be considered strategic. So the CIO needs to be in constant contact with the CEO. We are still hearing that CEOs don't fully understand what IT is about."

  To find out more about Martin Slofstra's thoughts and insights:


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