The secret life of CIOs

At yesterday's 10th annual State of the States conference sponsored by FSI of McLean, Va., Connecticut CIO Rock Regan unraveled the 'mysteries of the CIO code' for an audience of mostly industry executives.

He gave advice on how companies should approach a state CIO:

  • Forget the PowerPoint slides. Regan said he has watched more than a thousand PowerPoint presentations as CIO. What is effective, however, is a demonstration of practical technology. One WiFi vendor came to Regan's office and identified 10 rogue access points in the area. Regan allotted the company extra time on his tight schedule.

  • Do the research. Regan researches companies before they meet with him. He already knows their locations, number of employees, and other basic information. But most companies haven't done the same research about Connecticut and what it needs. Vendors who say, 'Tell me what your problems are,' probably won't get beyond the first meeting. For example, last year Connecticut laid off employees for the first time since the 1950s. Regan said he told vendors who came to pitch new products, 'I'm just trying to keep the lights on and the doors open.'

  • Don't take it personally. A CIO receives 200 to 300 e-mail messages a day, Regan said. Although Regan reads them all, don't be offended if you don't hear back from him.

  • Understand the CIO's timeline. A vendor who shows up in December, after the budget has gone to print, would have had a much better chance if he had stopped by the previous June.

  • Don't lie. A trade show group once tried to trick Regan into talking with them by saying they were from an IT department in Illinois. It turned out they were just calling from Illinois. Regan made a point of never attending another conference set up by this group.

About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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