CIOs Consider Playing for Vendor Team

Ann All

Practically right after we hit the "submit" button on our post about the increasingly diverse demands faced by today's CIOs, we saw an article on Australian IT about CIOs who leave their companies for what many see as an intriguing opportunity to work for a tech vendor.


Such a career move can provide the proverbial "win-win" for both parties, notes the article, with the vendor gaining a valuable insider view from someone who has been there and the former tech exec getting a fresh challenge and chance to utilize their hard-earned knowledge.


The general manager of an Australian recruitment firm says that joining a vendor team might mean a pay cut for CIOs from large companies but a raise for execs from smaller firms, especially those earning less than $250,000 (U.S. $204,250) a year.


While CIOs and vendor sales folks have traditionally been "180 degrees apart," says another recruitment expert quoted in the article, " they are moving much closer together."


Among the "new" CIO skills that are highly desirable in a vendor environment are relationship management, staff recruitment and management of outsourcing deals, says an executive from a third recruitment firm.


A former Credit Suisse First Boston CIO, who now manages a business division for a vendor, says he welcomed the chance to "be at the front end of the business rather than the back end."


He downplays the difficulty of a transition to a sales role, noting that firsthand experience with vendor pitches helped him learn the best and worst sales techniques. The biggest cultural shift, he says, is learning that "you really can't upset anybody."


A program director at Satyam Computer Services, who formerly worked in the IT department of Qantas, also expects to see more movement from the supplier side to jobs at customer firms. Indeed, a Forrester Research analyst encourages CIOs to consider recruiting folks from vendor firms. Other often-overlooked sources of tech talent include private contractors and university faculties.

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